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
2019 Board of Directors
Erick Tatro is the president of Front Runners New York. He previously served as a member of the Pride Run committee and chair of Social Committee. Erick joined FRNY in 2017 and quickly became involved in the club’s volunteer and organizing opportunities. His first 26.2 mile race was the Orange County Marathon during his last year of grad school — citing training runs as how to stay sane while writing a dissertation. He has run 4 additional marathons since then, including his favorite, NYC. Erick moved to NYC from San Diego, where he was a psychiatry researcher and volunteered for the American Heart Association as a coach in a training program for readying folks for a half marathon race. He loves dogs and everything outdoors.
I joined FRNY a year and a half ago as a way to just get in a couple workouts a week and meet some nice people. In just a few weeks I was fully dedicated to the club, training, and racing. I am so grateful for the support this club has given me in running and in life. This will be my second year on the board of directors and I’m excited to step up my involvement as Men’s VP.
With what is going on in the world today, I feel it's extremely important for LGBT groups as a whole to be more explicitly inclusive of the transgender community. I am working to continue to grow our transgender membership and become more inclusive and welcoming. Being a community that is often uncomfortable and excluded in athletic and LGBT clubs alike, I would love to see more outreach and be able to address prospective and current members' concerns.
I have been a member of FRNY since October 2015. In that time, I have been passionate about being involved, not only in racing, but in club activities and volunteer opportunities. I am honoured to accept this appointment to Director at Large for the remainder of 2017, and will serve my duties in the best interest of the club and its members
Patrick Hart is the Secretary of the 2019 FRNY Board. He has been an FRNY member since January 2015, and is constantly thankful for the positive difference FRNY has made in his life since he joined the club. During his time as a Front Runner, Patrick has been a Race Captain (including one year as lead Race Captain), member of the Brooklyn Committee, member of the History and Archives Committee, and volunteer at numerous events from the pasta dinner to the Brooklyn Pride Run and everything in between. In addition to racing many NYC races with Front Runners New York, he's also joined the club during out-of-town excursions from Peekskill to Pennsylvania to Paris. One of his favorite times of the week is the FRNY Tuesday night fun run in Prospect Park, followed by a camaraderie-filled runner dinner. Patrick works at CUNY in antipoverty program oversight and lives in Brooklyn with his husband Scott. He is psyched to serve on the Board and provide support to all the great work of FRNY in 2019!
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 12 marathons and two triathlons, competed at Gay Games 9 and 10, won four participation awards, and met some of his closest friends. Prior to stepping up to the board as Treasurer in 2017, he served as Pride Run Race Director from 2013-2016 as well as a member of the Membership committee since 2012.
Director At Large
Trey Bedingfield is the Director-at-Large of the 2019 Board. He has been a member of Front Runners New York since 2015. In addition to joining the Board, he is a part of the coaching committee and is co-planning the 2019 Front Runners New York Indoor Track Meet. Since joining, the club has become an integral part of his training for many races, including major milestone events like the 2017 New York City Marathon and the 2018 Gay Games in Paris. Trey grew up in Florida and moved New York City in 2011. Outside of FRNY, he works in institutional archives and is currently pursuing a master’s in Library Science.
Director At Large
Faith has been a member of Front Runners for more than 10 years and in that time has completed 5 marathons, many half marathons and innumerable other races wearing FRNY colours. She has handed out many cups of water at the FRNY water stations at both the NYC Half and full Marathons. A winner of the FRNY female track athlete of the year in 2015, Faith is now enjoying running at a more stately pace these days, but happy to continue representing the club.