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 in its infancy, with a roster of only 35 members the first year. Malcolm Robinson's and Steve Gerben's leadership stabilized and built the Club’s membership to more than 400 by 1985. FRNY 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 Club boards kept very good records, and photos of club members and other materials from that time are now part of the FRNY archives. During the early years, the LGBT community recognized the Club's members as runners first, and members of the LGBT community second.
From the late 1980s to the 1990s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic greatly affected the Club's members. Past FRNY presidents, board members, runners, and walkers were all affected. Despite that fact, FRNY members still competed at the first two Gay Games in 1982 and 1986 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 LGBT Pride Run®, started in 1984 ⏤ and the only running club to volunteer at a water station (mile 24) in the New York City Marathon.
Even with the addition of new events, committees, expanded membership, the Club still cherishes and continues these annual traditions ⏤ LGBT Pride Run®, mile 24 water station ⏤ that commenced over 25 years ago.