Many different chapters of the FrontRunners exist, but the San Francisco chapter has the pleasure of training and enjoying the scenery of the unforgettable Golden Gate Park. As part of a national and international network of running clubs that supports the LGBT community and their friends, the SF FrontRunners have successfully solidified a presence in the region that allows physical fitness and friendship to blossom with never-ending possibilities.
The roots of the SF FrontRunners begin in 1973 when a new educational concept emerged. Free newspapers were acting as “free universities,” where they listed an assortment of classes that involved arts and crafts, literature, photography, yoga, and meditation. In an attempt to increase the number of social and educational opportunities offered for the gay population, a group of San Franciscans created a newspaper called “Lavender U.”
An ad for a class on “learning to jog” was placed in Lavender U. – modeled after the San Francisco Dolphin, South End (SFDSE) Runners (one of the largest in the U.S.). They offered a “scenic run” on Sundays. Additional runs would later include ½-mile jaunts and five-mile excursions.
The first run was held on a Sunday in January 1974, taking off by the south windmill of the Golden Gate Park. All runners were welcomed and the club didn’t portray a sense of elitism as other organizations, which became a breath of fresh air for many members.
The San Francisco FrontRunners offers membership to anyone interested in becoming a part of this invigorating association. Participants will receive a membership directory, monthly newsletter, and discounts on FrontRunner clothing and event fees. Annual membership dues are $24. New runners can experience weekly runs for no cost at all.
SF FrontRunners Events
Tuesdays at 6:30pm are set aside for a meeting downtown at the Ferry Building for a 3-mile or 5-mile run.
Saturdays at 9am is considered the crème de la crème of weekly events. You may find yourself in the midst of more than 100 runners and walkers, who gather at the Stow Lake Boathouse at Golden Gate Park – come rain or shine.
A 1-mile walk or run takes place around the lake. A 2-mile/run continues through Strybing Arboretum. Explore the east end of the park with a 3-mile run to the Carousel. Perhaps, the west end of the park piques your interest – taking you four miles out to the Bison Paddock. Head to the beach and back for an invigorating 5-mile run.