Get To Know Your Running Clubs: Vancouver Frontrunners
Vancouver’s mild climate, and outdoors focussed culture has helped foster a number of fantastic local running clubs. In this edition of get to know your running clubs we got the chance to speak with Kai Scott, and learn more about the Vancouver Frontrunners.
Tell me a bit about your club history, how long has the club been around?
Frontrunners (www.frontrunners.org) is an international organization of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) running clubs in major cities around the world based on the book by Patricia Nell Warren. The Vancouver chapter of the Frontrunners (www.vancouverfrontrunners.org) started in 1983 with a handful of keen runners who were inspired by their participation in the Gay Games in San Francisco. The founders were Erik Graff, Damian du Plessis, Tom Long, and Rick Woods. Since then, the club has expanded with increasing participation from women and walkers. This year, we are celebrating our 30 years anniversary.
Tell us a bit about your membership? What level of runners do you cater to?
As Canada’s largest GLBT running and walking club, we have nearly 150 members, of which around 30 to 60 show up for our weekly runs. We support and welcome runners from a whole range of running backgrounds, experiences, skills, and goals. From the seasoned marathoner to someone just beginning with running wanting to finish their first 10K race, there is someone in the club to run and grow with at all levels. The club supports any personal running goal(s), including achieving fitness, new skills, emotional and physical health, specific race time, and/or race completion.
Where/when does your club usually meet/run?
We meet weekly on Wednesday evenings at Roundhouse Community Centre at 6:30pm and Saturday mornings at 9:00am at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park.
Any cost for membership?
We welcome everyone to come out and run or walk with us three times to see if it’s a good fit for them. If they like it, we encourage them to become a member of our club. Annual membership cost is $15. There is a bursary for those who need assistance with covering cost of membership and/or race registration.
Are the Frontrunners affiliated with any events?
In 2004, Vancouver Frontrunners began to host the annual Pride Run and Walk which kicks off Pride Week. The event, which is in partnership with the Vancouver Pride Society, has grown from an initial 30 participants into a successful race with nearly 400 participants this past year (2013). You can get more information about it at http://vancouverfrontrunners.org/pride-run-walk/
Where are your favourite spots to run in/around Vancouver?
Stanley Park offers some of the most varied and fun running in the city with lots of trails and waterfront scenery. The end of the run goes by the water park, which offers a refreshing reprieve from the heat in the summer.
We also do occasional Revolution Runs (usually on a night with a full moon), where we explore by running in different parts of the city, including Kits, North Vancouver, and East Vancouver. We run year round in any weather, which offers motivation to exercise during the dark and dreary days of winter.
What are your top three favourite races…. outside of anything that you’re affiliated with of course :)
There are several races that Vancouver Frontrunners participates in each year. The races with the most team participation from members are the Vancouver Sun Run (10K), the Vancouver Marathon/Half Marathon, and the Whilster 50 Ultra (80K relay). The latter is particularly popular given the beautiful race scenery on the Whistler Valley Trail, overnight stay, and the post-relay dinner and party. We also organize and enjoy destination races, such as the Seattle Pride Run and Victoria Marathon/Half Marathon.
Anything else that we should know?
While we enjoy running to promote health, we also dine together after each run. This gives us a chance to get to know one another and/or catch up and experience the range of cuisine that Vancouver has to offer. This helps create a family feel as we share about life’s triumphs, challenges, learning, and growth. Our club also provides a unique a supportive and safe environment to those newly coming out, alternative activities to clubbing, and addresses specific needs of transgender/genderqueer athletes. We also welcome family, friends, and allies of our LGBT members.
We have regular social events that really solidify our group’s cohesion. Everything from movie and pizza nights, bowling, pre-race carbo-loading dinners, to Halloween parties and more.
I also want to mention the strong connection with our sister clubs in Seattle and Portland. Members of Vancouver Frontrunners travel on yearly basis to our southern siblings, enjoying running, dining, dancing, and exploring these West Coast cities!
Overall, we are an inclusive and welcoming bunch. We enjoy meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life and foster a supportive and nurturing environment.
Great stuff Kai, thanks for taking the time to tell us more about the group!
Want to connect with the Vancouver Frontrunners, or just find out a bit more about them? Go to any of these links: