|Frontrunners Rhode Island|
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.
Our first yoga-run-walk event had a wonderful turnout on August 10, 2015. The group gathered at Lippitt Memorial Park at 6:00 PM under beautiful mid 70's weather. After a brief orientation yoga instructor, Erik Strzempko, provided a 10 minute dynamic stretching routine followed by a 40 minute run/walk along Blackstone Boulevard. The gang regrouped and completed an exhilarating 40 minute yoga routine.
Thank you to all the 18 participants (Don & Scott, Brian, Tim, Rob, Danny, Kyle, Rene, Deidre, Scott C., Denise, Dee, Ike, Michael, Ali, Jordan, Scott M., and of course, Eric). Frontrunners RI wishes to thank everyone who chipped in some money that will be going towards future club events.
We hope to see even more of you next Monday!
Monday 10 August
6PM in Lippitt Park
at the end of Blackstone Boulevard in Providence.
Hope to see everyone there.
Well, not everyone.
That would be way to crowded.
Thanks to Peter and Ike for having the whole crowd down to Westport for our annual summer gathering. The weather couldn't have been finer, and after running and biking various distances before noon we all chowed down on an incredible lunch. What a fantastic time we had. A handful of us lingered to take a walk on the beach at the end of a great day, taking in the impressive Westport sunset. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect day or better company.
Frontrunners Rhode Island is adding a Monday evening stretch-run-yoga combo to complement our weekly Thursday runs, led by the talented and generous Frontrunner/Yogi, Erik. Join us this Monday at 6:00pm at the triangular park across from our usual gathering place (Lippitt Memorial Park if you're looking for it on Google Maps, see below); bring water and a mat if you have one. Erik has some mats but the less he has to tote along with him the better.
• The schedule will be:
6:00 - 6:10: Dynamic Stretching with Erik
6:10 - 6:45: Run or Walk (be sure to return by 6:45)
6:45 - 7:30: Yoga with Erik
Please note that the yoga portion will be accessible to all and won't be anything overly complex. It will obviously be geared toward runners/walkers.
The warm up doesn't really require a mat and can be done in sneakers so if you want to leave your mat in your car until after the run/walk that might make the most sense. Erik has enough mats for about 12 people so if you don't have a mat he can probably provide one.
Remember, there is absolutely no required donation. It is free to all. If you do want to donate to future Frontrunner activities ALL donations go directly to Frontrunners RI.
Frontrunners Rhode Island had the pleasure of running with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza during a Sunday 3 mile run earlier this summer. All are welcome to run with the mayor every Sunday at 9:00 AM at Roger Williams Park!
"LGBTQ Shorts: Transcending Boundaries" at Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival. http://sched.co/3wTm @RIFilmFest #RIIFF2015
What a great gathering this evening! Several new runners joined our gregarious group as we enjoyed the beautiful summer weather in Providence. We miss some of our regulars as many are currently away on vacation. Looking forward to more summer runs.
Several RI Frontrunners (Brian, Danny, John B, Scott, and possibly Arthur) will be running the July 24 Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Race in Narragansett, RI. Let's wish them the best of luck and good weather!
Let's hear it for Frontrunners Rhode Island founder Brian Patrick Mulligan, who won his division in today's Narragansett Bay Half Marathon. Here he is alongside a couple of ain't-half-bad runners Geoff Smith and Amby Burfoot, both Boston Marathon winners.
Attaboy Brian, but where's your Frontrunners singlet, eh?
It doesn't get much better than this folks.
Join us tonight on the Boulevard.
In addition to our Thursday night runs from the Boulevard, we've been talking about adding another get-together during the week—perhaps a combination yoga/cardio thing on another evening or the weekend.
If you're interested, let us know!
A nice little film about running. Anyone who sticks with it will tell you there's a lot of truth in this.
Not pictured are the many new folks who have joined us in recent weeks. Stick around to have your mug included on the blog!
originally published in options magazine, june 2014
It's 6pm on a Thursday night in Providence. A group of men and women are gathered at the north end of the Blackstone Boulevard path, trading warm greetings and chatting about the weather, the joys and pains of the week, and news of the day. They're doctors and college professors, social workers and house painters, postal carriers and librarians, civil liberties advocates and artists. Collectively, they form Frontrunners Rhode Island, a group of LGBTQ runners and walkers who gather every week to traverse a few miles of the Boulevard and neighboring streets, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Depending on the season, they'll be either bundled up or wearing next to nothing. The club meets year-round, and its members share a dedication to fitness, good health and enduring friendship. On occasion, they're joined by gay-friendly folks who simply enjoy the camaraderie. Everyone's welcome.
International Frontrunners has chapters all over the world, but the first club began in San Francisco in 1974. Inspired by Patricia Nell Warren's The Front Runner - a controversial novel about a gay track coach and his openly gay protégé - the group has grown to include more than 100 chapters all over the world, from Providence to Paris. For many, the network of clubs means the assurance that, when traveling or moving to a new city, they'll likely find a cohort of LGBTQ runners (not all clubs can boast a walking contingent), forge new ties and be made to feel at home on unfamiliar turf. Clubs can be found in almost all major cities around the globe, and in many mid-sized towns like Providence.
Frontrunners Rhode Island was started in 1997 by mainstay local runners Brian Patrick Mulligan and Deirdre Bird, both of whom have for years placed high in regional races. The pace of the group varies, from a small number who regularly run five miles at a good clip along a beautiful route, following the Boulevard and River Road, to walkers and runners who prefer to stick to the path, covering two to four miles. Every year, the group runs the Cape Cod Marathon Relay, and they've placed well in the rankings, but not everyone is in it for the competition. Some just enjoy the chance to get fit with like-minded friends, whatever the pace.
Compared to juggernaut clubs like those in New York City, San Francisco and London, who number in the hundreds, the Rhode Island group (like its namesake) is small. In fact, it's the only Frontrunners group that uses a state name instead of that of its home city. The group wants to welcome into its ranks more LGBTQ people from the area, and is open to anyone interested in joining them for the weekly runs. From the large number of colleges and universities in the area, along with Rhode Island's energetic LGBTQ community, membership can surely broaden, and with it the circle of people who enjoy good company and fitness in Providence.
Becoming part of the group is easy. They have a Facebook page (FrontrunnersRhodeIsland) and they're linked from the International Frontrunners website (www.frontrunners.org), where you can find contact information. You can also stop by their table at the Rhode Island PrideFest every summer on the Providence Waterfront. But perhaps the simplest way to join them for a run or walk is to show up on any given Thursday at 6pm, where the Blackstone path meets Hope Street. Just look for the friendliest people around, ready to elevate heart rates with a little conversation thrown in for good measure.