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.
Hi my name is Carolyn. When I started running in 2012 I decided I needed a club but being a trans woman was nervous how I would be treated. Going to Pride that year I saw leaflets for Northern Frontrunners and after a couple of months decided to pop by and see what they were like. It was a small group and I was the only female but everyone was really friendly. When we went out for the run I was left at the back but Cameron pulled back to stay with me and this was the start of our “never leave anyone on their own at the back” policy. At the end of the run I was asked by all if I was going to stay; I did and became the first female member. With Steven Duffy’s and others’ encouragement I tried to increase the female membership, making sure I was always at the pool to meet and greet even if injured. They also encouraged me to be on the committee and become a LIRF (Leader in Running and Fitness), where I concentrated on those who had not run before or coming back from injury.
Whilst on the committee I made sure we had more female products in the goody bags for the LGBT5k and also brought in the medals – designing the first 2. This is the ethos of the club where if you have an idea you can put it to the club and they will listen which makes all members feel they can improve the club. The club became Newcastle Frontrunners in 2017, and that year at the AGM I received a Special Achievement award for my 108 races in the year.
I feel that the club has not only improved my running but brought out more in me as I’ve never helped to organise an event before this or wanted to be on a committee. It makes me proud to see how the club has grown over the years and especially the amount of females and the diversity of the club.
The Angel View Run 2018A report by Aisling
This year’s Low Fell Angel View run took place on a roasting hot Thursday in June, and seven Frontrunners set their sights on conquering the 5.17 mile course.The race started behind the Angel Inn, with views of Gateshead and the Angel itself creating a fairly dramatic backdrop to the proceedings.
The run is a two and a half loop course, which someone feeling kind described as “undulating” – we all know with that description you should read between the lines and just acknowledge that it’s hilly. The initial hill in the first loop was pleasant enough, and (what goes up must come down) was followed immediately by a quick downhill dip through the underpass, followed by a short ascent on a forest trail path. With a sense of direction such as mine, I had no idea where I was headed, and so was pleasantly surprised upon exiting the forest to be rewarded by a worm’s-eye view (like a bird’s-eye view, but from below!) of the Angel towering above me. It was lovely to experience such an iconic structure from a novel perspective.A quick trot past the Angel, then it was time to double back along the main road and head back through the underpass towards the second loop.The second loop was less forgiving than the first, and contained one epic, seemingly never-ending ascent (I should note at this point that most of us had joined in the NFR hill rep session the night before – poor planning or perfect preparation, depending on perspective, or whether you’re at the top or bottom of the hill!). At one point I thought I had reached the top, only to find that there was an additional bit of hill hidden behind the bushes, followed by a football pitch-sized field that you had to run around before you could enjoy the long run back down.After that, the rest was a breeze. Up and over, through the forest, wave hi to the Angel, and onto the home straight (I did panic slightly at this point when the Marshall told me I still had another lap of hills to go – either he was having a laugh or had a twisted sense of humour!).The race finished back where it had started, with the Angel in all its glory standing out against the sunset sky. As always, there was a finish line fan club, with the other (faster!) NFR members cheering everyone on as we each made it to the end.There was time for some mingling and liquid refreshments back at race HQ before a short awards ceremony, a token gesture of a free buffet (insider tip: stand near the buffet table – they refill the chips when they run out!), and a decent sized raffle, in which Stevie G bagged himself a substantial bottle of vodka!All in all, it was a tough run, but the friendly atmosphere, scenic setting, and sense of smugness at the end made it all worthwhile. Definitely one to put in the diary for 2019!
Welcome Newcastle Frontrunners, the new name for Northern Frontrunners.
Great name, but why?
Northern Frontrunners was born six years ago as the first and only running club in the northeast aimed at the lesbian, gay, bi, trans communities plus friends.
In that time the club has grown tremendously, our ever expanding membership are often seen out and about across Newcastle and the region, we compete in races and events locally and nationally. Everywhere we went we were asked ‘where is “Northern”?’.
Changing the name to Newcastle Frontrunners makes it much clearer to everyone!
And a new kit?
Well if we’re changing the name, why not the kit too, right? Plus our blue/yellow colours weren’t quite as distinct as back when we started now that we are taking part in many more events.
Our members came together to design the new kit which we hope will be easy to spot as we are dashing past.