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.
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.
Russell / Uncategorised / #exerciseformentalhealth, #mentalhealthrunner, #runhappy, #runintoagoodmood, anxiety, benefits of running, depression, exercise, frontrunners, gay running, LGBT, LGBT running, mental health, MIND, newcastle frontrunners, Newcastle upon Tyne running, runandtalk, running, running club, runningismytherapy /
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. MIND, the mental health charity, recognise that the LGBT population is more likely to suffer mental health issues than the wider population. Exercise is recognised by the UK’s NHS as positive for mental health and a significant contributor to positive metal well-being. The NHS Choices webpage states “exercise helps boost levels of chemicals called serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which can lift your mood. Exercising on a regular basis can boost self-esteem and confidence, which can help to relieve symptoms of depression.” With this in mind, we asked one of our members to give their own reflection on how running has helped with his own mood control.
“Hi, I’m Andrew – a 40-something gay guy who was once very overweight and struggled with depression.
I started running many years ago with the primary intention of losing weight. I ran alone due to being self conscious of my weight but also I didn’t have the confidence to run with others as I didn’t feel I was good enough. Although I could see the physical improvements from running such as weight loss, improved speed and I could actually run reasonably far but I wasn’t aware of the hidden improvements with my mood and mental health.
Jump a few years and a break from running, I pushed myself to join Newcastle Frontrunners. I did this because I wanted to get back into running but also because I was lonely. For years my schedule was to go to work and then come home; I made very little effort in going out or reaching out to others and I knew this had to change.
I threw myself into running and attended almost every session possible during my first year with NFR. I found the social aspect of running extremely positive and I don’t think I truly appreciated this until I was injured and couldn’t run.
I had a couple of short breaks due to injury and although the first time was only a couple of weeks, it felt like months. It wasn’t until the second time I was out of action for around 9 weeks I noticed my mood was slipping and I was beginning to spiral downwards. During this time I focused my attention on maintaining contact with the club and supporting them in other ways. I also tried to do the odd run here and there. Even though this did not have the same impact on my mood as running with others and being competitive, it helped pull me through.
I’m back to running now but with a different focus. I’m more focused on the doing and supporting others rather than trying to increased my speed.
NFR have become my family and I am glad I can continue to support them whether I am running or not.”
Running will not magically solve all of life’s problems, but it certainly can help. There is some evidence that experiencing (i.e. participation in an activity), and belonging (having something to belong to, and identify with) are great for promoting a sense of wellbeing. So having a club that encourages runners of all abilities to participate in whatever way they can – and that meets regularly – helps people feel a part of something. The added benefit of lots of support from other members and trained coaches alike is one possible way of promoting good mental and physical health. Once running has become something we do, many of us find that after a stressful day at work, or when struck down by anxiety, just getting our trainers on and going out for a short run can help. It’s a good thing to keep in mind – not just today but every day.
Led to the start by a bagpiper…joined at the finish line by a man-sized dog called Jog Scotty…dancing the Gay Gordons . not your typical race weekend! Since 2015, Glasgow FrontRunners have hosted a 5-mile race called OUTrace in August each year. As it takes place early (9.30am) on a Saturday morning, it gives us an excuse to go up on the Friday and spend the weekend in this great city. This year, to enable more people to attend, the club paid for a minibus with driver to transport a group up north. In total 19 of the club took part in the weekend, with many doing their first trip to this race and their first 5-mile race – it is an unusual and interesting distance to run.
The minibus trip started in typical Frontrunner fashion , with some wine passed around and cake on tap. Some of us had an early night, but others sampled the Glasgow nightlife. Happily everyone made it to the race start line on the Saturday, in the amazing amphitheatre of the Kelvingrove Bandstand. We were welcomed by local drag artiste Miss Bella Houston who gave our club a big shout out before helping lead a mass warm-up to get us all ready. We were then led by the bag piper to the start line on a beautifully rainbow-decorated Prince of Wales bridge.
Our runners came from all abilities of the club, with 2 finishers in the top 20 and others spread right throughout the field. No matter how fast you ran, the route was a green, lush, undulating beauty – and the difficult hill at 4 miles was rewarded with a drumming band at the top 🙂 One of the other fab elements of this race, apart from its route through the amazingly scenic Kelvingrove Park and Kelvin Walkway, is that it loops back on itself so team members can cheer each other on – which we certainly did!
After the run there was a charity cake sale with proceeds going to LGBT Youth Scotland (over £1000 was raised on the day via cake sales and texts). We then made our way back to our various hotels for a weekend of shopping, sleeping, drinking or, in one case, a tour of the Oor Wullie statues which had been placed throughout Scotland for the summer (https://www.oorwullie.com).
The FrontRunner love continued on Saturday evening with a group dinner at Arta restaurant, and then a free ceilidh for all visitors. The dancing started with the relatively simple Gay Gordons but got increasingly tricky, and increasingly fun! Some of the team went on later to the Polo Lounge for further dancing, while others had done quite enough for one day!
On Sunday morning we were invited to join a regular GFR Sunday run, where there were options of 5k. 7.5k, 10k and 16.5k, and we finished up with a group brunch at Bar Square in Merchant City and a group photo with Our Wullie. What a great time. Thanks GFR and see you next year!
This latest bio in our series is being published to coincide with Lesbian Visibility Day, and features Mary, another of our amazing, inspiring female LGBT members.
I joined Frontrunners during the first couch to 5 k programme.
I had not run since my schools days and had been trying to complete a couch to 5 k on my own…. not very successfully!
At the same time I had just relocated to the UK and thought this wold also be a wonderful way to get to know like minded people and get healthy too.
I admire and respect all of the efforts that the volunteers put into this club and I wanted to give something back so helped others through the next batch of couch programmes.
I am not very interested in competitions or PBs but understand that many of our members are. However, this is also a space for members like me who want to keep healthy and run in a safe social environment. I think in these strange times spaces like ours are even more important and vital to supporting the LGBT community, their allies and our aims of inclusivity regardless of sexual orientation and abilities.
My proudest moments have been running across the line at the end of a 5k as the back runner with our couch graduates .. so inspirational for me.
Visibility is so key to this as many look to us for inspiration and for role models to be who we are and in particular to demonstrate commitment to our inclusive and wellbeing values that are the foundation of the Frontrunner mission.
Russell / Uncategorised / Athletics, frontrunners, lesbian sport, LGBT, LGBT running, LGBT running club, LGBT sports, LGBT UK, newcastle frontrunners, north-east England, runners, running, running club, UK sport /
We’d like to introduce you to our latest bio: Kim.
I’d been aware of Newcastle Frontrunners for a couple of years before I joined. But as I hadn’t done any long-distance running at all I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea to give it a go, even if it was an LGBT running club and I was keen to meet and run with others from my community.
So when the first Couch to 5k programme was announced in 2015 I immediately signed up. I still remember our first session: We were all supposed to run for *gasp* 60 seconds, then walk for a couple of minutes or so, then run for another 60 seconds etc. We were all going “You want us to run for how long?!” But to cut a long story short, since then I have run a 10k, Blaydon Races (3 times) and two half marathons and am currently training for my third half-marathon in Cardiff later this year.
4 years ago I wouldn’t even have thought I’d be able to accomplish so much and run so far, but with the help of everyone in Newcastle Frontrunners, from coaches and run leaders to all my fellow runners, I had all the support and encouragement I could possibly have asked for.
I realise that as a lesbian I didn’t have to join an LGBT running club, there are many other running clubs out there, but I wanted to meet and get fit with others from the wider LGBT community. I also liked that you didn’t have to be able to run at a certain pace in order to join and no-one is ever left behind.
To any lesbian out there who is thinking of taking up running or just want to be able to learn how to run, why not come along to one of our sessions on Wednesday evenings and give it a go. Newcastle Frontrunners are a very welcoming, friendly running club, and as a little reward afterwards there’s always lots of cake and fruit. Come for the running, stay for the cake! 🙂
Our next bio is from one of our newer members, Hannah.
I have been a member of NFR since October 2018. I used to run regularly but had stopped running for a while. In September, I ran the great north run without much training – I realised how much I had missed running and that it would be a good idea to run with a club- I lose motivation if I’m running alone!
I decided to go along to a session after reading about the club on Facebook and the website. The fact that the club promotes running for the LGBT community influenced me to come along – I also wanted to meet new people in Newcastle and run regularly.
My first session was on a Wednesday night- it can be daunting joining a new club or activity where you don’t know anyone but everyone was really friendly and made an effort to chat to me. What I really like is how everyone warms up together and finishes at the same time on a Wednesday, and Monday sessions are tailored so that everyone can take part together – this means you really do get to meet a wide variety of people. I’m still meeting new people every week!
Since joining NFR both my running and general fitness has improved and I’ve beaten some PB times. I’m sure that attending running and s&c sessions is helping me become a better runner. Every session has been enjoyable and varied, and the coaching is to a really high standard.
I’m enjoying training in a friendly, encouraging and inclusive environment. I would definitely recommend NFR to anyone who is thinking about coming along.’