Almost 50 members celebrated the 24th anniversary of Sydney Frontrunners Club in late November.
Club President Nick Mills welcomed past and present members to the Café Hernandez restaurant.
Long-serving members have tallied a distance of at least 100,000km and club treasurer Jim Box, who has been in the club 20 years, said, “That’s a whole lot of running and wearing down of shoe leather.”
The club formed in mid-1983 after the first Gay Games were held in San Francisco.
“We had gay and lesbian runners meeting socially for a run in Centennial Park and after the first games we found many other runners in the USA were calling themselves Frontrunners,” founding member Phil Bell said.
“The name relates to the famous gay novel by Patricia Nell Warren titled The Front Runner.
“Today there are more than 100 Frontrunner clubs scattered around the world. So of course we wanted to be part of that growing family and decided to name ourselves Sydney Frontrunners.”
Today the club boasts some 80-plus members who age from their early 20s right through to mid-70s – gay and lesbian, fast to not so fast (maybe a walk sometimes), track runners, marathoners, triathletes galore and a few social members who enjoy the traditional Saturday morning post-run breakfast.
“Membership peaked in 2002 when Sydney staged the Gay Games – we had over 120 members then and we were involved in every running event in Sydney and many interstate,” secretary Wayne Morgan said.
“We continue to win team events in age categories and we recently retained the 8km team trophy at the Maroubra Fun Run.”
Past President Zoe King said she enjoyed the evening get-together.
“Lesbians have been welcomed to the club forever and this year we have some high achieving women – one Australian champion and another who just won her age division in the World Half Ironman championships in Florida,” she said.
“We can be out front sweating or we can be at the back of the pack enjoying the company of other runners. Plus, we have clubs in other Australian cities.”
The club continues to meet for a run in Centennial park – Saturday mornings are the most popular (8am for a 12km run or 9am for a 5km run around the park) plus there are other runs on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings as well as run squad training on Monday nights.
In the race season members participate in events all around Sydney and always are well represented at Gay Games and Masters events.
Everyone is welcome to come along and join the members in a run and be part of the forthcoming silver anniversary year. Lots of events are planned as members aim to reach the million kilometre mark.
For more details on the Sydney Frontrunners check out their website or phone 9311 3062.

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