One of our newer members, Andrew, ran the Virtual London Marathon last weekend. Here’s a heartfelt piece from him about his experience:
“Having completed two GNR’s I thought I would enter the ballot for the London Marathon, thinking I would never get a place, but how wrong I was. And after restarting training twice I finally completed the “virtual” marathon on Sunday. I wasn’t expecting it to be as emotional as it was, but with the support of my partner meeting me along the route with drinks and encouragement, friends supporting me on their way to a shift, and copious numbers of people stopping to clap, cheer and toot their horns it really got to me. Those people will not know how much that helped.
I had only really managed 21 miles previous to Sunday, and those last 5 miles are an absolute killer. This is where I needed all my mental and physical strength. I had a friend run the final 4 miles with me which was a big help. To my surprise, at the finish line (at my house) my mum and dad were there. My mum was the inspiration for the run: I was raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind, as she is on the waiting list for a dog, having gradually lost her sight and being registered blind for the last 3 years. A mixture of physical exhaustion and the welling-up of emotions meant I burst into floods of tears at the end!”
Andrew has been running with Newcastle Frontrunners for less than a year but has already made a big impact with his enthusiasm, determination and progress. He’s made lots of friends and even expressed interest in becoming a trained run leader. If you are interested in running with the north-east’s only LGBT-focussed running club drop us a line. If you’d like to sponsor Andrew and help raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind please click here.
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.
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.”