|Frontrunners Rhode Island|
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.
Frontrunners Rhode Island Race Circuit
(June - December 2018)
The first FRRI race circuit is intended to motivate our members to start running more races and encouraging some healthy competition. The races are varied in distance and located throughout our great state! You can walk, run or run-walk! There are an average of 2 races a month. This is all voluntary of course and if you just want to run on our weekly runs, that is fine as well!
We will reward the runner or walker who has done the most races by the end of the year, regardless of their time or distance run. All races get equal credit to encourage all abilities This special prize will be given to the top runner/walker during our 2019 January Yankee Swap gathering.
Just a few points to keep in mind:
1. After completing each race, take a minute to report your accomplishment by filling out our FRRI Race Results Submission Form. You may also fill this form out from your smart phone and upload race photos.
2. A race point will be given for each event completed, regardless of time or distance run. Remember, we are trying to encourage participation!
3. For our first year, we won't be awarding people who win special awards or place in their division. However, it would be nice if you could share your extra accomplishments on the race results form, any unique experiences and why you may have liked the race.
3. You must have completed the race to get credit. Sorry, DNF's and "bandits" (running a race without paying the race fee) don't count.
4. Maximum points you can receive for the series is 15. 4 of these races are free (Blackstone Blvd Free 5K). The Options Gay 5K date has not yet been determined but we will include this in the series.
5. As this is our first time to do this, we may tweak the rules next year to make it more enjoyable!
Gaspee Days 5K Foot Race
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Blackstone Boulevard Free 5K
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Blackstone Boulevard Free 5K
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Blessing of the Fleet 10 Miler
Friday, July 27, 2018
Bobby Doyle 5 Mile Summer Series
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Blackstone Boulevard Free 5K
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
CVS Downtown 5K
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Options Gay 5K
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Blackstone Boulevard Free 5K
Wednesday, September 26 2018
Narragasett Bay 5K and Half Marathon
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Half Marathon and 5K
Cape Cod Marathon Weekend
Saturday-Sunday, October 27-28, 2018
Half Marathon (Oct. 27), Marathon and Relay (Oct.28)
Colt State Park Half Marathon
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Li'l Rhody RunningTrail Race
Sunday, November 18, 2018
4 Mile, 8 Mile
Trot off Your Turkey
Saturday, November 24, 2018
5K and 1.5 Mile
Downtown Jingle 5K
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Frontrunners Rhode Island participated in the 2018 AIDS Run/Walk for Life held on 4/21/18 at Roger Williams Park. Brian, Tim, Stephen, Michael, Scott, Eric, and John helped to raise money for support services for Rhode Islanders living with HIV/AIDS. Many thanks to those who supported them in this important fundraising event!
This year was a superhero theme ! 5 of our runners placed in their age group after their beautiful morning run. Congratulations and see you next year!
Read about the special journey of Deidre Bird together with her long time cycling pal, as they bike from Florida to Maine in the next few months!
More than two dozen frontrunners showed up on 26 November for the annual St. Luke's School Trot Off Your Turkey 5K and a great potluck in Barrington. A brisk 5K race resulted in a third place win for our team, and three people—Danny, Polly and Dee—won age group categories. What a great day! Afterwards, we all convened for a smorgasbord of good eats. We hope to be doing monthly races in 2017, so join us for the fun some Monday or Thursday night to learn more.
FRRI had the pleasure of hosting a 5 mile run with Frontrunners Boston on a pleasant Fall afternoon. Ryan, Dan, Rich, Cale and James drove up from Boston and joined the gang at Blackstone Boulevard for a quick run followed by an early dinner at Rasoi. We wish to thank our Boston running friends for spending their Friday afternoon with us and we look forward to joining them in Boston for a Spring run!
Frontrunners Rhode Island participated in this year's annual Pridefest held in downtown Providence on 6/18/16. With most of the group wearing their proud FRRI shirts, FRRI helped to promote the organization while trying to recruit new runners and walkers. Flyers were given with information on the weekly running schedule and route in addition to our other activities such as Monday evening run/yoga sessions at Lippitt Park. It was also a wonderful time to catch up with old friends of frontrunners who stopped by ! Frontrunners RI wishes to thank everyone who participated in this year's festivities!
With beautiful weather in store, a bunch of us headed to the Boulevard on Thursday night for some cardio-goodwill. Join us at our Rhode Island Pride booth, to learn more about our Monday and Thursday run, walk and yoga.
Frontrunners RI celebrates its 20th year by teaming up with Rhode Runner Providence to present the Free 5K for Youth Pride Inc. Rhode Runner, meeting the needs of local runners since 2001, holds a monthly 5K to benefit community organizations. On May 25th, the funds raised by the Free 5K will benefit YPI, an organization devoted to providing services and support to LGBTQQ youth (ages 23 and under).
How does a free event raise money? Good question! While registering for the event, at eventbrite.com, you have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets, or simply make a donation. The proceeds go directly to YPI. If you choose to just register for the race, it is absolutely free! You may also register on site, but you may have to stand in a line. Registering ahead of time puts you on the guest list. It is like an express pass!
The free 5K will take place at 6:30 PM in Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. There will be a timing clock provided by Rhode Runner, and it will keep running until the final participant crosses the line. Water and a sports drink will be provided also, and raffle prizes are donated by running apparel companies and local businesses.
Whether you’re a runner, a walker, or just an enthusiastic supporter, it is a great way to spend a late spring evening!
To register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blackstone-blvd-free-5k-fun-run
As a token of gratitude, Erik was presented last night with a gift certificate to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health located in Stockbridge, MA. Regular Monday night yoga attendees chipped in to help purchase the gift as a way of thanking him for his wonderful contribution to the group's health and wellness. We hope more will join us on Monday nights!
Spring is on the way, and while we're still hunkered indoors for Monday yoga, Fronties know the end is in sight. After a couple of weeks' hiatus we're back in the ISB Gallery at RISD tonight. Meet at 6:00pm for dynamic stretching indoors, followed by a 30 minute run or walk. Top it off with yoga in the gallery.
Frontrunners will hold its regularly scheduled stretch-run-yoga session on Monday 18 January at 6:00pm at RISD's Illustration Studies Building (ISB) Gallery. The gallery is not available on Monday the 25th, but we're looking for another space for that evening. Stay tuned!
Erik's away and our normal space is in use on Monday 7 December. But Frontie persistence conquers all. We'll be running Thursday night, 10 December, on Blackstone Boulevard at 6:00pm. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or just show up at the north end of the Boulevard path, across from Three Sisters.
After a couple of weeks' hiatus Frontrunners Rhode Island is back. Join us for a bit of stretching, running and yoga tonight (Monday 30 November), in front of 55 Canal Walk in Providence, at 6:00pm. We'll loosen up, run a little and then head inside the cozy ISB Gallery for some post-run yoga. Map below.
We have to do a little shuffling around next week, so our Monday stretch-run-yoga will instead take place on Tuesday night—same place and time: meet in front of 55 Canal Walk at 6:00 sharp. We'll stretch, run, and then do some yoga led by Erik at 6:45 or so in the Gallery.
Tonight we'll meet up at 6:00pm outside the Illustration Studies Building at RISD, 55 Canal Walk, for a quick stretch and then a 30 minute run (or walk, if you prefer).
Our yogi has returned from his travels, and we'll enjoy about 45 minutes of yoga in the ISB Gallery afterwards.
Dinner will ensue for anyone interested. Join us!
Tonight we'll meet up at 6:00pm outside the Illustration Studies Building at RISD (the brick building on the left in the photo) 55 Canal Walk, for a quick stretch and then a 30 minute run (or walk, if you prefer). Dinner afterwards for anyone interested. Join us!
Frontrunners Rhode Island had a sweet performance at yesterday's Cape Cod Marathon Relay with a final time of 3:21:42 (7:42 pace). With overcast skies and occasional drizzle over Falmouth , MA , the team came in 6th place in the men's open division and 26th out of 186 relay teams.
In keeping with Halloween tradition, Brian created this year's costume with candy theme! This year's team included John (Butterfinger), Danny (Almond Joy), Brian (Kit Kat), Tim, (M&M's) and Scott (Reese's). Thank you as always to Brian for his costume creativity and to Kyle for helping to drive us to all the exchange points!
Join Frontrunners—Rhode Island's go-to LGBTQ club for fitness and goodwill—for our weekly runs on Mondays (an Eastside/Fox Point run followed by about 45 minutes of yoga) and Thursdays, when we meet at the end of the Blackstone Boulevard path, where Hope Street meets the Boulevard, right across from Three Sisters Restaurant. All newcomers welcome—we're a friendly group.
Both events start at 6:00pm sharp.
Mondays: Run/Walk and Yoga with Erik Strzempko
6:00pm: meet in front of 55 Canal Walk, Providence
6:00pm: meet at the north end of the Blackstone Boulevard Path, at the intersection of Hope and Blackstone Boulevard.
Our weekly run/walk is scheduled for 6:00pm tonight—hope to see you at the north end of the Blackstone Boulevard path in Providence. Meanwhile, here's an interesting NY Times article shared by one Frontrunner about the inevitable deceleration that comes with age and what we can do about it:
Why Runners Get Slower With Age (and How Strength Training May Help)
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
Young runners are different than you and me. They have more speed. And to achieve that swiftness, they use certain leg muscles quite differently than runners past age 50 do, according to a new study of runners’ strides at different ages. The study also intimates that many of us might be able to reinvigorate our flagging pace with the right type of strength training.
Science, competitive records and lived experience all show that runners slow with advancing age, even the great ones. The current world marathon record for men, for instance, 2:02:30, was blazed by a 30-year-old, and is nearly an hour faster than the world record of 2:54:48 for the 70- to 75-year-old age group, which was set by Ed Whitlock, a Canadian. He later ran the world record for the 80- to 85-year-old age group with a 3:15:54 clocking that, although blisteringly fast by my standards, was more than 20 minutes slower than his septuagenarian self.
While most of us accept this diminution in speed as inevitable and logical — we’re older, of course we’re slower — surprisingly little is known about the actual bodily underpinnings of the decline. But there have been hints. Past studies have found that our aerobic capacity declines as we reach our 40s, dropping by about 10 percent per decade after that, even if we vigorously exercise. So a serious 60-year-old runner will have more endurance capacity than sedentary people his or her age, but less than his or her 40- or 50-year-old self.
However, lower endurance capacity does not automatically mean slower running speeds. Theoretically, with age, we could run at the same pace as we once did, although doing so would require using more of our already diminished endurance capacity — meaning that it would feel more difficult.
But we don’t. We slow down.
That process intrigued Paul DeVita, a professor of kinesiology at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and president of the American Society of Biomechanics. In 2000, he and his colleague Tibor Hortobagyi published a famous study showing that older people, when they walk, take shorter steps than younger walkers, and rely less on the muscles around their ankles and more on the muscles around their hips to complete each stride than do younger walkers.
Dr. DeVita suspected that a similar change in form might be occurring among runners. But there was little evidence to support that idea.
So for the new study, which was published last month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Dr. DeVita set out to learn more. He and his colleagues from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass., recruited 110 experienced, recreational runners between 23 and 59 years of age.
They invited the men and women to the Runners’ Clinic at Wake Forest and fitted them with reflectors designed to capture how they moved. Then, while the researchers filmed them, the volunteers ran repeatedly at their normal training pace along a track containing a device that could measure how forcefully they struck the ground.
The researchers then integrated this data to create profiles of the runners’ form, which they then compared by age.
The differences were striking. With each passing decade, the runners’ stride length and preferred speed dropped by about 20 percent.
Meanwhile, runners older than about 40 displayed much less activation of and power in the muscles of their lower legs, especially those around the ankle and in the calf.
Consequently, Dr. DeVita and his colleagues found, these runners pushed off more weakly with each stride and did not rise as high into the air as younger runners, a change in form that accelerated as runners reached their 50s.
Interestingly, the scientists did not see any accompanying increase in the activation of the runners’ hip muscles, as they had seen in walkers. The older runners used their ankle muscles less but not other muscles more. Instead, they simply slowed down.
In many ways, this shift away from reliance on the lower-leg muscles during running makes physiological sense, Dr. DeVita said.
There is evidence, he said, that those muscles age earlier than other muscles in the body do, with connections between cells in those muscles and the nervous system faltering and the muscles’ repair systems weakening earlier than in other muscles.
“Achilles’ tendon and calf injuries tend to increase” as runners get older, he pointed out, probably because those tissues become particularly fragile.
To lessen the chance of such injuries and potentially also maintain more of our speed as the years pass, he said, we probably should consider strengthening our calf and ankle flexor muscles. (The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends a variety of such exercises at orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00667.)
Of course, this study was looking at individual runners at one point in their lives. To more precisely understand how age affects running form, Dr. DeVita said, scientists will need to follow the same runners for decades, which he and other researchers hope to do.
It is also important to look at how any alterations in running form dovetail with changes over the years in physiology, he said, especially the decline in aerobic capacity. Perhaps the body, recognizing that it has to work much harder to run as fast as it once did and that some muscles are no longer as spry as they once were, opts against speed.
“It may be a protective adaptation” to slow down, Dr. DeVita said.
Just reminding everyone that we ARE meeting today (Labor Day, 7 September) for the stretch-run-yoga session at 6:00 PM. For those of you who didn't join us last week, we are meeting right across the Narragansett Boat Club on the East Side of Providence. There is a some park space facing the river which will be our yoga spot. If you use GPS, drive up to 2 River Road, Providence and look for us gathering in the park. We want to start on time at 6 PM. If you plan on joining us for the 5-10 minute stretch portion, we ask that you please arrive a few minutes before 6:00 PM.
As the days grow shorter, Frontrunners Rhode Island will be trying out a new venue for their Monday yoga-run sessions. Starting August 31 (Monday), we will be meeting at Blackstone Park, right across The Narragansett Boat Club on the East Side of Providence. We will have a beautiful view of the river and have more sunlight during our yoga class. Walkers will be able to walk around the new paved trail or along the Seekonk River while runners can run a 3.3 mile route up to Groto Road and back to the park.
Drive up to 2 River Road, Providence, and look for us gathering in the park area across the boat club. See you at 6:00PM!
Join Frontrunners RI at 6:00pm on Monday 24 August for our regular stretch—run/walk—yoga session with Erik Strzempko in Lippitt Park.
Yoga is a fantastic way to open up the body and improve breathing, especially for many of us who sit for long periods each day, our bodies folded and crumpled, our breathing made shallow.
We hope to see you Monday at 6:00pm at the end of Blackstone Boulevard (see map, below). Bring a mat if you have one, but otherwise, Erik has plenty of mats and blocks to loan out. Afterwards many of us head out for cheap eats at a nearby restaurant and you're welcome to join us.
Drop-in-the-bucket donations of 2-5 bucks to support Frontrunners events and expenses are appreciated but are not expected. Just bring your tired bod and warm spirit and we'll be happy to have you.*
Here's an article from the Human Kinetics website about the benefits of yoga for runners (with a section on how it improves stability and mobility excerpted below):
* Frontrunners is an LGBTQ group open to straight allies.
Last night, as we arrived for our weekly run on the Boulevard, we encountered a sharp looking pair of gentlemen waiting patiently on a park bench. We soon learned that their names were Bud and Don and after a little chatting, we were very impressed to discover that Bud was the founder of the first Frontrunners group (San Francisco, 1974) and Don was an inaugural member of the club.
Bud's a Cranston, RI native and RISD alumnus, in town for his 60th high school reunion this weekend. What a great privilege it was to hear their story about how Frontrunners evolved from a band of "lavender joggers" to the legacy of today's International Frontrunners, a solid network of LGBTQ clubs around the world—from Liverpool to Little Rhody.
We took a few photos of some of our gang with Bud and Don. We hope to cross paths again very soon, but meanwhile we're grateful for the opportunity to have met these two guys—our distinguished founding members.