It’s been a long wait, but today (July 1st) we are re-starting official training in groups. Initially in groups of 4 including a qualified Run Leader (LiRF), our Rainbow Groups defined by pace will meet at different locations and run different routes, but we will be training with others at last. We have taken advice from England Athletics, produced Risk Assessments and advised all runners on the rules for running in this COVID-19 socially-distanced era. We can’t take on any new members right now, but if you’re interested in joining us please email and you will be added to our list – we have around 10 people already waiting to join up as soon as we have the capacity to expand. Let’s get the first few runs successfully completed and we can do more.
Virtual LGBT5k Festival of Running
Following Northern Pride’s announcement that there will be a Northern Pride Online on July 18th, and demand from our followers, we are super excited to announce that we will hold a Newcastle Frontrunners virtual LGBT 5K Festival of Running on Pride weekend (July 17th to 19th).
Obviously, everything is hugely different this year and we all need to ensure that we abide by the rules of social distancing in our local jurisdiction.
However, we are determined to ensure that the event keeps to its principles of having fun, supporting and celebrating the LGBT community and supporting our chosen charity, Rainbow Home.
As such this year’s event will be virtual, with entrants running any distance they choose to earn the much sought-after 2020 medal.
Details will be published shortly, so get your tutus dusted off and ready.
There are a lot of virtual runs around this year…but there’s only one LGBT5k Virtual Run…
COVID-19 has “run riot” through the spring events and training calendar at all running clubs, with many runners losing motivation when faced with tight restrictions on when and where they could run. To combat this situation, at the end of April the committee of Glasgow Front Runners asked other UK clubs if they’d like to join in a virtual run across the country. It was a very well-received initiative with over 100 runners from 11 clubs participating.
May was turning out to be another depressing month, with both Glasgow and Newcastle Frontrunner clubs announcing the cancellation of their summer races (OUTrun and LGBT5k respectively), and GFR again turned the mood around by initiating another cross-UK run. The last Thursday of the month was again chosen (before lockdown, GFR regularly had a Big Club Run at the end of each month) so on May 28th runners donned their club vests, found beauty sports near home to run in, and jogged as far or little as they wanted while capturing an all-important selfie.
Turnout was again tremendous, with video messages of support posted throughout the day from the leaders of Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester Frontrunners.
Aided by the glorious weather the turnout was tremendous, with even newer clubs like Dundee getting several members involved, and Newcastle Frontrunners alone having over 30 runners. As restrictions are relaxed we look forward to being able to run in small groups, but as it’s unlikely that whole clubs will meet in the near future, and certainly not come together for races, these virtual events are a great way to keep in contact and be #alonetogether.
Since we posted about Rainbow Home’s fundraising drive last week a good number of runners and walkers have signed up. Typical is Kirsten, who says, “After seeing a post about supporting Rainbows Homes, during these exceptional times, I wanted to help in any way I could. I know that NFR support the charity via our #LGBT5k and knowing we have 2 members in our club who access the services of Rainbow Home, it just felt right to help out. So I’ve linked my Strava to record my mileage, but most importantly donated funds.”
You run, walk or cycle as far or little as you like, and all your mileage from now until the end of June counts towards the final total, with the aim of covering enough miles collectively to cover the equator.
Another member, Joszef, comments: “I signed up for the challenge to show my support for Rainbow Home. While I am not that familiar with charity, I feel that whenever one can help, they should do so. There is always someone needing a hand, or a smile, or a good word. By doing this, I hope that I can contribute in my own little way to keep this amazing charity going, to provide help to those who need it, to show that there are people who care, and no matter the hardships, they are not alone. ”
The target is to raise £7500 to secure the immediate future of the service, and so far collectively we have raised just under £2000. Let’s give it a helping hand – you can sign up here.
Pictured is Alessandra from Rainbow Home with our club Treasurer Eddy giving her a cheque for £1000 at last year’s LGBT5k. With doubts about whether any races can go ahead this year, we are supporting this virtual run instead to ensure Rainbow Home continues.
Russell / News, Uncategorised / #GFRBigUKClubRun, Birmingham Swifts, Brighton and Hove Frontrunners, Edinburgh Frontrunners, Glasgow FrontRunners, International Frontrunners, It's a Piece of Cake 10k, LGBT runners, Manchester Frontrunners, newcastle frontrunners, NFR, Out runners /
“Don’t meet up. Don’t get close to others. Don’t race. Don’t sit-down mid-run on a bench…” With all the restrictions on activity during the UK’s lockdown it would be easy to think “why bother”, yet we know that running is good not just for physical but for mental health. Across the UK our Frontrunner family of LGBT+ clubs has found creative ways to motivate their members.
Some are weekly ideas, such as Edinburgh Frontrunners weekly challenge (last week: hill runs). Some are daily, like the Birmingham Swifts “take a selfie of something with the letter (x)” – see below their creative ideas for the letter R!
There have been lots of online events such as Zoom quizzes (within and between clubs – thanks Liverpool Frontrunners to the invite to your quiz the last 2 weeks) and aerobic or strength and conditioning sessions (who needs Joe Wicks?) Brighton and Hove have had various challenges, from publishing training sessions to Strava Word challenges (run so that your run route forms a word – see below:)
In the past week even more expansive events have started. Glasgow Frontrunners kicked off by turning their monthly Big Club Run into the Big UK Club Run, encouraging all LGBT+ club members to run and upload photos. Over 100 runners from across the UK took part, with 31 just from Newcastle.
This was followed by Manchester Frontrunners holding a “virtual” It’s a Piece of Cake 10k in place of the cancelled physical race, encouraging runners to run 10k and then eat some cake, posting selfies of their cake munching.
Within NFR four of our runners got together and devised a Bingo challenge for the month of May. 4 Bingo cards have been created around different themes, and runners need to complete all 6 challenges on a card before shouting “Bingo” and uploading their evidence on our Strava club. Each successfully completed card earns a place in a raffle at the end of the month. The idea has inspired several runners who had lost their mojo and not run since lockdown, with one saying, “this is fabulous!! Such a brilliant idea – I needed a fun and exciting way to encourage my running shoes back on… can’t wait to get creative! Thanks.”As distancing continues there are bound to be further initiatives to keep our clubs motivated, and we look forward to stealing the best ideas 🙂 Stay healthy, stay fit, stay strong.
In light of advice from the government and England Athletics, we are currently on hiatus. There are no planned meetings – social or running – until at least the end of April 2020. We are supporting and motivating our runners and community via social media.
This month we feature a recent joiner, Becky, who has quickly become a regular. Mind you, when she says NFR is the least competitive club she found on Google, we’d disagree – we have a ferocious competition every week for best cake…
“I moved to Newcastle in June 2019 for a new job, and was very excited to get to know a brand new city. I grew up in Sheffield and went to Warwick University, so I was looking forward to a bit of coastline and the return of the northern accent.
Sport was a big part of my school life; I was a keen swimmer, enjoyed trampolining and had a half hour walk to and from school every day. However my enthusiasm for sport was quickly surpassed by my love of playing in orchestras and wind bands (I still play oboe today!) and exercise became something “I used to do”.
During my second year uni exams, as the monotonous revision and inevitable sitting down all day was driving me slowly mad, I spontaneously decided to go for a quick jog around the block and discovered just how unfit I had become. My legs ached for days afterwards! But I gradually built up my distance and pace until I felt confident enough to go along to Coventry parkrun, something I’d wanted to do for a while, and I loved it.
Fast forward to moving to Newcastle, I knew I wanted to join a running club, as I was finding it difficult to motivate myself to run outside of parkrun. After a good Google search I found NFR to be the friendliest and least competitive of the local running clubs according to their websites, so I planned to go along to a session.
Unfortunately a slight kink in my plans appeared; in August 2019 I had a major operation on my abdomen and knew I had to build up my strength very slowly and carefully. I explained this in my enquiry email to NFR, unsure if this could be accommodated, and I was met with nothing but enthusiasm and welcome. I could run as much or as little as I wanted, the support was there regardless. The buzz I got from my first session (200m reps on a chilly Monday night) was fantastic! And I’ve never looked back.
I’m now running faster and further than I ever have done before, and I am a regular volunteer at Jesmond Dene parkrun, including being Run Director – I never knew shouting “3, 2, 1 GO” could be quite so satisfying.
I’ve met lots of friendly, welcoming NFR members (even if I can’t remember ALL of their names, they’re quite happy to remind me!) and thoroughly enjoy every session I go to. I’m working towards the Gateshead Half Marathon using NFR Sunday runs to get the miles in, and I’m really looking forward to some of the NFR Grand Prix events that are happening throughout the year.
NFR has made my move to the North much easier and I anticipate I’ll enjoy this club for many years to come.”
Want to learn to run? Returning after a long time away from running? Our 10-week Couch to 5k programme could be just what you need. Free of charge, it starts on Wednesday March 18th and comprises three sessions per week (2 with us and 1 on your own or with other programme participants). Booking is essential as places are limited – check out our dedicated page by clicking below.
Russell / News / Dave Music Cafe, gay runners, gay sport, International Frontrunners, LGBT, LGBT runners, LGBT running club, LGBT sport, LGBT5k, LGBT5kFest, newcastle frontrunners, NFR, Pride Radio, runner bio /
In 2019 we have featured biographies of lots of our members – male and female, gay, lesbian, trans, hetero and bi. We finish the year with gay royalty – our very own Pride Radio DJ. Meet Mr Dave Ryan…
“I’ve been running on and off since the age of 13. I even got involved in the school cross-country races, something I don’t do anymore – I can’t be doing with all that cold and mud! Before I moved to the North East, I lived in Edinburgh for almost ten years and spent my time running by myself. It’s one of my big regrets. During all those years I could have been a member of a running group which would have made me more confident, more motivated and have people around me to share my passion for running and socialising. Well, there’s no point dwelling on the past and what could have been. When I moved to the North East, Newcastle Frontrunners was recommended to me by one of my husband’s friends and it was just the tonic I needed. I’ll always remember my first running session with Newcastle Frontrunners with great fondness. From the moment I set foot into the reception area at Gosforth pool, I immediately felt so welcomed. What I love the most about them is that there is never any pressure to run fast or be competitive. The club is fully inclusive of all genders, sexuality and abilities, which makes it such a warm and friendly community.
It’s over three and a half years since that first session and I haven’t looked back since. Within six months of being a member of the club I was elected to the committee and took charge of organising the busy club social calendar. It felt so good to be able to give something back to this lovely bunch. The club encourages its members to get involved in all aspects of its life. One of the big events that the club organises each year in June is a fundraising quiz and I relished the opportunity to be a part of the team. I jumped at the chance of becoming the resident Quizmaster (well I do like to talk! More on that later). I’m also proud to be a qualified Leader in Running Fitness, something the club helped me achieve. I really enjoy leading groups on different routes and helping my fellow runners to improve on their running technique and fitness. I do have to admit that my orientation skills aren’t the best and I haven’t always kept my groups on the right track, but thankfully that’s all in the past now. Well I guess it should be, I’ve been a run leader for three years!
For me, running isn’t about entering races or trying to get a personal best, it’s about pulling on a pair of running shoes and being able to just get out there in the fresh air and forgetting about all the stresses and strains in life. Running is my therapy. If you take one thing away after reading my bio, the most important piece of advice I can give somebody who might be suffering mental health issues is to give running a go. Take it from someone who has struggled a bit with their mental health in the past. Running is accessible to everyone and certainly rewards me with much-needed endorphins and has taught me that I do have control over my mind.
The biggest highlight so far as a member of Newcastle Frontrunners is being part of the club’s annual Pride running festival, which takes place on Newcastle’s Town Moor. For the past three festivals, I’ve had the great opportunity of being race Compere. The atmosphere is electric and I get to dress up in a silly costume and best of all, I have a captive audience! Last Summer I decided to dress as my music idol. I even managed to get everyone involved in the infamous Freddie ‘ay-oh’ crowd chant. It almost felt like the real thing!
My running goal for the year ahead is to finally get myself out of bed on a Saturday morning and run in a parkrun. I do wish they would start the parkrun at 10am instead! I do like my weekend lie-in. As for getting back into cross-country running, I think I’ll need a lot more persuading before I go back down that road or should I say up that muddy hill!
Now you’ve read a little about me, how about listening to me! I did mention earlier that I do like to talk. I’m live on your radio every Sunday afternoon on Pride Radio 89.2fm from 2pm playing a great mix of music from the world of musicals and film. My show is called ‘Dave’s Music Cafe’ and you are cordially invited to come inside, where just like Newcastle Frontrunners, everyone is welcome.”
UPDATE December 1st 2019: Over 70 people came along to run or volunteer at our run on World AIDS Day, with a sea of red streaming across the Town Moor. It was a beautiful sight, and we raised over £250 for Blue Sky Trust, our chosen HIV support charity. See more photos at the end of this post…
Newcastle Frontrunners are well-known for hosting the LGBT5k each summer. This winter we are hosting a new free event – a 5km fun run to commemorate World AIDS Day. Over 101,600 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
World AIDS Day has taken place every year since 1988 and has been dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.
We would like to invite anyone wishing to show support for World AIDS Day to come along to Exhibition Park, Newcastle, and join us for a free, non-competitive 5k run/jog around and across Newcastle Town Moor, ending back in Exhibition Park. You will find us near the gate where parkrun assembles on a Saturday. Volunteers to assemble from 9.30am, and runners 9.55-9.55am with the run starting at 10am. There will be a lead runner, a tail walker, and lots of marshals on route so it doesn’t matter how fast you are, you will be catered for and have great support. See at end of the post for final details…
We have our amazing photographer Maggie on board to take group and individual shots so make sure you look your best!
The route is mostly flat, and will be adjusted according to the weather! We’d encourage everyone taking part to wear red as this is the traditional colour of HIV awareness. There is no charge to take part, although any donations would be welcome.
At the end of the run there will be cakes to buy, after all, it wouldn’t be a Newcastle Frontrunner run without cake. Although the run is free, it would be good to have an idea of numbers for cakes, so please drop us a quick email if you are thinking of coming.
All proceeds raised will go to Blue Sky Trust, a local charity which supports people in the North East and Cumbria living with HIV, and there will be representatives from the charity present on the day if you wish to speak with them.
The forecast is looking good for Sunday, but chilly. Feel free to come in warm jackets or hoodies and leave them with us at the start – the cake table will be manned throughout. The run is not officially timed, so bring a phone or GPS watch if you want to ensure you record your time.