Since this is National Volunteer Week in the UK, it seems appropriate to feature our Training Co-ordinator Stephen, better known as Stevie G, who is responsible for making sure we have a full roster of volunteer run leaders available at all of our sessions.
“When I joined Newcastle Frontrunners in 2014, I wasn’t driven by any desire to be a serious/competitive/dedicated runner – I joined when a friend encouraged me to enter the LGBT5k that year, and I figured I ought to do some training to save me from embarrassing myself/putting myself in hospital. I attended semi-regularly as Wednesday runs clashed with my tennis club, but as the autumn and winter rolled round, the weather made outdoor tennis unplayable and I found myself running every week. Tennis was long forgotten about.
Fast-forward 5 years (nearly) and I’d now consider myself a competitive and dedicated runner – I now run every week (or try to at the very least) and I love to challenge myself. The club has enabled me to do that, and through the support of the club, I’ve been able to achieve things I would never have thought I was capable of! I’m proud to be able to give back to the club and help my fellow Frontrunners through my work on the committee and as a Coach and a Leader – again something that I would never have done if not for the encouragement of others who saw something that I didn’t know was in me.
I can’t imagine NOT being a member of NFR at this point in my life, and it’s only when I’m writing the reasons down for this bio, that I realise exactly how important it is to me. Running of course has its health benefits in that it helps to offset damage done by cake and wine, and it de-stresses me after work. What I don’t often give a second thought is that being a member of NFR makes me an active member of the LGBT+ community – prior to running with NFR I didn’t have many friends who were LGBT+, and I half-heartedly supported Pride, seeing it as a reason for a party. Since becoming a member of NFR I now realise how important it is to be a visible member of the LGBT+ community, and how important it is to be LGBT+ and visible in sport, where LGBT+ individuals are still few and far between. Being in the club has shown me how fundamental and important this is – we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where LGBT+ individuals have rights and protections and safe spaces, however not every LGBT+ individual can say that, which is why clubs like NFR need to exist and why I’m proud to be a member. I’m proud to call the members of Newcastle Frontrunners my friends, and can’t imagine the past 5 years any differently.”