Who are we?
Front Runners New York (FRNY) is New York City’s LGBT running club. The club was founded in 1979 and has grown to over 700 members annually. FRNY’s mission is to create a social running community focused on health and fitness that is welcoming to all LGBT New Yorkers.
FRNY offers a robust, inclusive membership experience that includes professionally-coached running workouts, multisport training, social events, and more.
The club is affiliated with New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the International Front Runners organization.
FRNY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The club’s activities are overseen by a Board of Directors that is elected annually.
What is Front Runners' History?
Want to learn more about FRNY? Explore our archives!
Front Runners New York was founded October 1979 by Malcolm Robinson and named for Patricia Nell Warren's novel The Front Runner, published in 1974.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the club was still in its infancy, with only 35 members on its roster for the first year. It took Malcolm Robinson's and Steve Gerben's leadership to stabilize and build its membership to more than 400 by 1985. Front Runners members Harold Brueland and David Pitches were the first Front Runners members to race for team FRNY at the New York City Marathon in 1977. Guy Zelenak and the early FRNY boards kept very good records, and photos of club members and other materials from that time are now part of the FRNY archives. The LGBT community at the time recognized the club's members as runners first, and being LGBT second.
From the late 1980s to the 1990s, the AIDS epidemic greatly affected the club's members. Past FRNY presidents, board members, runners, and walkers were all affected by the disease. Despite that fact, FRNY members still competed at the first and second Gay Games both held in San Francisco. The club also continued to be the only running club in New York City to host its own road race in Central Park (the annual Pride Run) and the only running club to volunteer at a water station (mile 24) in the New York City Marathon.
Today, the club is proud of its diverse members. Even with the addition of new traditions (Awards Night, Cross-Country Meet, Indoor Track Meet, Indoor Triathlon), the club still cherishes and continues annual traditions (Pride Run, mile 24 water station) that commenced over 25 years ago.
Meet your Front Runners
2017 Board of Directors
2017 Board of Directors
Dan Ferguson is the president of Front Runners New York. He previously served as board director at large, race captain, long run coordinator, multisport coordinator, and history and archives committee member. He was race co-director of the Brooklyn Pride Run in 2014 and 2015. A multiple-time winner of the club's Achievement and Participation Awards, Dan was the 2015 Front Runner of the Year and previously won the Sue Foster Long Distance Runner of the Year and Multisport Athlete of the Year Awards. He is the two-time winner of the Polish Constitution Day 5-Mile Trail Race.
Jason has been a proud member of Front Runners New York since 2011. Before FRNY, the farthest he had run was 7 miles. Since joining he has finished 10 marathons and two triathlons, competed at Gay Games 9, won four participation awards, and met some of his closest friends. Prior to stepping up to the board as Treasurer, he served as Pride Run Race Director from 2013-2016 as well as a member of the Membership committee since 2012.
When Ryan returned to running in 2014, he hadn't even run a 10K. He found a club called Front Runners New York, attended one Saturday to buy a singlet, and quietly went about 9+1ing. And then started attending Central Park workouts, and bagel brunches, and social nights, and muggy mid-summer races in Riverside Park.
Since joining Front Runners, he ran his first halfs and marathons, better than he ever could have on his own. Ryan has made friends and had a lot of fun along the way, and looks forward to many more years of good races and great camaraderie.
This club means a lot to him and he loves being able to give back as Secretary on the 2017 board.
After a personally and professionally challenging start to 2016, Lisanne decided one Wednesday evening in June, (at the urging of a friend) to pick herself up, dust off, and attend a FRNY Fun Run. She exited Central Park that evening knowing she had found "my people". Over the past 7 months, in addition to completing her Master's degree, the frequent social activities, organized runs, and network of new FRNY friendships, have all transformed her life. While it was only within the last two years that she became a runner, she looks forward to conquering her first NYC Marathon in November. She looks forward to serving the group of talented athletes and amazing friends that have come to be her second family, as we all dust off and move forward, together.
Mahn's uncle wanted to teach him martial arts one morning when he was 18. After 30 minutes, they had to stop. Mahn felt sick. For the next 2 days, he couldn’t get out of bed. He overheard his uncle saying to his mom on the phone “your son is very weak”.
For the next 2 years, he got up at 5 am every morning to run. He never ran very far, started with 0.5 km, then 1km, and then 1.5km. But at 20 years old, he was no longer “weak”. Running has since become part of his life.
When he discovered FRNY, he thought that this is the group of people that he’d very much like to hang out with and run with. He looks forward to running with y'all for health, fitness, and for a lot of fun!
Director At Large
Holly Mehedin has been running since 2014, a Front Runner since 2015, and is ready to help bring more energy and sparkle to the board! She's always training for something and has three marathons on the books for this year! Aside from that, she is a dance teacher and choreographer, and as some of you know she's also been running the strength and stretch classes Saturday mornings!
She had such a great time on the Pride Run committee this year and is excited to bring some new ideas to continue to build the women's presence! She's always willing to run, chat or listen to new ideas, so please, come and find her to say hi!
Director At Large
Alex works as a graphic designer in NYC which was his impetus for moving to the city. This was where he discovered FRNY in 2016 and has loved it ever since he started. He was the captain of the New York Half Marathon water station as well as the Front Runners Cross Country meet in 2016 and won Newcomer of the Year for his racing and volunteer acheivements.
He is excited to serve as Director at Large for Front Runners for 2017.