What an amazing LGBT5K Running Festival we had this year. It was certainly a very special event in many ways. Instead of our usual event on the Town Moor, we ventured into the virtual world.
We ended up with just over 700 entrants from all corners of the UK and indeed the world and not only running, but walking, hula-hooping and multiple other activities.
This was not the only reason why it made this year’s event very special. For the first time in our history, we decided to support only one charity at these difficult times for charities, as their usual sources of donations dried up. We pledged to donate all proceeds after recovering our costs to Rainbow Home.
We received amazing support from the local community of running clubs, Frontrunner clubs in the UK & Worldwide, as well as lots of other LGBT supporters. Not only did they enter and donate, but they embraced the idea of having fun while supporting a great cause. We received some excellent photos and videos with some great costumes and captured images in scenic and iconic locations. As usual Saltwell Harriers stole the show with a brilliant Spanish bull fighting display at the iconic Angel of the North (see featured image).
Best of all is the fact that we managed to raise the staggering sum of £4,940.94 for Rainbow Home.
It was a humbling experience to meet the Rainbow Home representatives virtually today (see image below) and share the news of how much we raised. They were extremely touched and appreciative of the efforts made by all the participants to raise this huge amount of money and it helps them to feel secure that they can continue supporting LGBT Asylum seekers for the next few months.
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…
Last year for Lesbian Visibility Day we featured a bio of recent member Jo. Since then she has joined our managing committee and helped both with guiding our LGBT5k preparations and representing our lesbian cohort. For Lesbian Visibility Week 2020 she’s written an updated piece about her experience in the club:
“It’s been a year since my first lesbian visibility week as a member of NFR. Before that I didn’t realise there is a week like this or see how important it is. I’ve been very lucky in my life that I haven’t faced any challenges due to my sexuality. I thought I was very open about it, but using this week to reflect made me realise that I wasn’t as open about myself as I thought. I’m not sure why that was; maybe it was lack of role models or a little bit of fear about what happens when people find out you’re ‘different’. I’m not sure if that was the same for other lesbians in NFR, but even within the club lesbian visibility was minimal. I think things have changed in a good way since then. We’ve had representation on the committee, social media contributors and coaches, and just those small actions where lesbians have made themselves visible has made the club feel even more welcoming than it already was.
Personally, I joined the NFR committee and have had a really good time being part of it. It’s very interesting to see what happens behind the scenes to make the club work and I am part of the team organising the LGBT5k Festival of Running that was planned to take place in July. With social distancing it doesn’t look like it’s possible for that to go ahead in the usual way, but we will see what else we can do to encourage running and LGBT participation in 2020, and I’ll be there next year supporting the 2021 event in conjunction with the rescheduled UK Pride in Newcastle – something I never imagined doing. I’ll also continue to be a positive influence within the club to help anyone who is worried about being visible to see that it’s ok showing the world who you are.”
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.”