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.