Meet Bob Leyh, co-chair 2000

November 3, 2016

35th Anniversary member series by John Lockhart

In 2000, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in force. As a sailor, how did you factor in leading a gay and lesbian running club and perhaps kicked out of the Navy. Never mentioned, our unit was the Helicopter Tactics Wing on North Island. The Captain and top staff all knew that I was a volunteer for Special Delivery, that I ran with Front Runners and of my role in the club. During six-plus years in the Navy—I was a Yeoman—I served in Puerto Rico, Italy, at sea and here, and was honorably discharged in February 2000.

Tell me about your marathon experiences and your connection to a horse? Clydesdale, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon twice, in 1998 and ‘99 at a weight of 212 lbs. Sunday long runs with Ben Fabian, Garrett Demarest and Terry Trevino paid off with a Finish time of 4:26 and change. A huge boost was the club water station on the Bay, downtown. Later on, I was part of the club contingent in the first Mud Run at Camp Pendleton, along with Larry Ramey, David Garcia and Vicki Barnett. I’m proud of the first Run and Stride with Pride in 2000 in Balboa Park with about 100 participants. A running high while in the Navy was a run up Mt. Vesuvius, a bus back down and lunch in Naples!

Highlight from your co-chair year. Front Runners taught me how to be friends with women and to work with women, something, sadly, I never learned growing up. I will never forget Carol Clark, the female co-chair with me. She brought women into my life and enriched it. At our first board meeting I came in with a complete agenda. After the meeting Carol said: “Good agenda, Bob, but I’d like to be involved in it, don’t sandbag me.”img_0346

In 2000 Front Runners began planning to host International Front Runners in 2011, running, business and social events for attendees from around the world. How did the club do it? The event chair, David Cohen made it happen and we worked our butts off, with a final dinner in Seaport Village, and had a great time showcasing the club and San Diego.

You and partner, Bill McClain, are active in the arts and generous donors to Diversionary Theatre; Bill served on the board for six years. How is Diversionary, the second-oldest GLBT theatre in the U.S., doing? Very well, thanks to a talented artistic and executive director with a nationwide reach and vibrant board. Treasurer Jerry Hicks is a major player. Diversionary is well positioned to move forward into its next decade.

What do you and Bill do for fun. In our 23rd year together, we go to art and gallery openings, theater productions, and travel in the U.S. and Europe. Bill continues teaching fourth grade at a San Diego public school. I served on the San Diego Pride Board in 2007-08 and in 2013, an exciting, challenging and frustrating experience. For the annual AIDS Walk I drive a 10-wheel truck and help deliver equipment and supplies for water stations and other course needs.