|Frontrunners Rhode Island|
Frontrunners RI goes to Paris!
The Gay Games is an international sporting event held every four years that serves to encourage healthy competition among LGBTQ athletes from all over the world. Paris served as this year's host city and was attended by over 10,000 athletes from 90 countries with over 300,000 spectators.
Five our very own runners together with their families/partners participated in the various running and cultural events across Paris from 8/4/18 - 8/12/18. Our proud runners included Keith Shields, Brian Mulligan, John Kershaw , Scott Mirani and Tim Engels. They were joined by Jeff Fuller, Ed Pendola, Emma Kershaw, Peter Quesnel and Tom Koch.
This was certainly not the first time that FRRI members have participated in the Gay Games. Previous participants have included John Rocabello, Brian Mulligan (2002 Sydney Gay Games ) and Jim Saunders (2014 Cleveland Gay Games).
The opening ceremonies took place in the beautiful Jean Bouin Stadium, located in the 16th district of Paris. Every represented country and US state entered the stadium with their respective banners. Representing Rhode Island, Frontrunners RI was joined by the Newport Rowers, an LGBT rowing team. The ceremony included empowering speeches on sports and LGBT equality in addition to wonderful musical presentations promoting French culture and musical history.
Our runners did well despite the unseasonably warm temperature. Congratulations to Brian Mulligan for winning two medals!! Below are some photos of the various races. You may also read all about Keith Shield's experience in the half marathon.
10 K (held at Bois de Vincennes )
1. Tim Engels
2. Keith Shields
3. Scott Mirani
4. Brian Mulligan (SILVER medal winner in age group)*
* being challenged. According to official race results, Brian should be receiving gold medal.
Half Marathon (start and finish close to Arch de Triomphe)
1. Keith Shields
2. John Kershaw
Marathon (start and finish close to Arch de Triomphe)
Brian Mulligan (SILVER medal winner in age group)
Between events, the gang had the opportunity to take on many of the endless museums and historical sights. These included the Palace of Versailles, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, Musee d'Orsay, Louvre Museum, Centre Pompidou, Musee Picasso and others! Of course, time was seen enjoying some fabulous meals and sights at the Marias! They also got to socialize with many frontrunners from all over the world during a big social gathering in the gay district of Paris.
Given the success of this year's big trip, many of us have already spoken about attending the Hong Kong Gay Games in November 2022.
Mark it in your calendar folks! You won't regret it!!!
VIDEO for 2022
by Keith shields
Avid marathon runner, ironman triathlete, and dedicated member of Frontrunners Rhode Island.
On Saturday, August 11th, the final day of the 10th annual Gay Games in Paris, Brain Mulligan, John Kershaw and I lined up at compete in the marathon (Brian) and half marathon (Keith and John). The event started and ended just steps away of one of Paris’s most idyllic landmarks, the Arc de Triomphe. The course passed mostly through the Bois de Boulogne which treated runners to a mix of large tree canopies covering hard packed dirt paths, asphalt road that hugged beautiful parks and quaint cobblestoned streets closer to the start and finish of the race. The Rhode Island Frontrunner contingent was treated with cheers and fandom from Jeffrey Fuller, Scott Mirani, Tim Engels, Ed Pendola, Emma Kershaw and towards the end of the race, Peter Quesnel and Tom Koch.
My strategy was to try and keep up with future marathon silver medalist, Brian Mulligan as long as I could. However, nearly from the start of the race, I know it was going to be tough task. A week of touring Paris that consisting of 10-12 walking miles and 16-30 flights of stairs a day had taken its toll on my legs. From the first mile, I knew it would not be a day of personal records. That said, I was able to stick with Brian for the better part of the first half of the race and finished in a respectable time.
After finishing, cooling down and getting a few refreshments, I joined the FRRI spectators to cheer on John and Brian. The music was pumping, the announcer was psyching up the crowds, screaming encouragement to each finishing runner while temporarily slowing down marathon runners completing another lap by sharing a quick fist-pumping dance with him/her. The mood just seemed so happy and at that moment, it hit me how happy I was.
We weren’t the token ‘gay runners’ of a race, but a race full of brothers and sisters from all over the world, who happen to love someone of their own gender, who love to run and who just like me, seemed so happy. I found myself laughing, smiling ear to ear and tearing up, all at the same time.
The Arc de Triumphe, commissioned by Napoleon I was built to celebrate the many victories of the French Army. Leaving the race, and seeing the iconic monument, I couldn’t help but think of the many battles and victories in those battles that the GLBT+ community have made to all get us here to the 10thGay Games… where men and women could compete, celebrate, be themselves and be happy doing it.