Our History

Facts

Founded in 1981, Front Runners & Walkers San Diego is a running and walking club whose members are primarily lesbians and gay men, but is open to everyone.

Of the club’s approximately 200 members, one-third are women. Our ages range from the twenties to the eighties. About half are walkers, and half runners. Our runners range from the beginner to the competitive. Our walkers range from leisurely strollers to race-walkers.

We meet at the southeast corner of 6th Avenue and Laurel Street in Balboa Park on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 pm, Saturdays at 8 am, and major holidays at 9 am for running and walking, with several routes available from 2½ to 5½ miles (4 to 10 km). Attendance on weeknights is usually at least 20, and on Saturdays at least 40, more in the summer.

We periodically schedule other fun non-running/walking activities, such as potlucks, outings, parties, and water stations.

Contact us at  info@frwsd.org.   But the best way to find out more is to visit. We will do our best to welcome you.

 

It all began…with a T-shirt!

The one Carol Pierce spotted on Jeff Wynne at the May 1981 meeting of the San Diego Chapter of the Gay Academic Union (GAU).

After Carol admired the shirt—from the San Dieguito Half Marathon, 13.1 miles of rolling hills in northern San Diego County—the two concluded that there just had to be other gay and lesbian runners out there. So, on the spot, Carol and Jeff decided to found Front Runners San Diego, modeling the club after others sprouting across the country and taking their names from the celebrated book, The Front Runner, by Patricia Nell Warren.

At the GAU meeting in June, Carol and Jeff, destined to be the first co-chairs of Front Runners San Diego, taped sign-up posters to the meeting room wall. Admits Carol now, “We both signed up some fictitious names so no one would have to be first.”

And on July 7, 1981 at Sixth and Laurel, under the tree in Balboa Park, Carol and Jeff welcomed six others to Front Runners San Diego: activist Jeri Dilno; attorney Catharine Kroger, to be the first club treasurer; the late Ron Lutz; and the club’s first newsletter editor-to-be, Win Cooper. Two others completed the group, a locally based Navy man, later transferred to Washington D.C., and a man in the plant supply business. From that Saturday morning on, Front Runners San Diego was off and running!

The club’s first T-shirt, a knockoff of San Francisco Frontrunners’, came out in 1981. The club’s own shirt design, first created in 1982, depicts the California Tower in Balboa Park, the meeting place tree, and the club name in rainbow colors. A full line of wearing apparel followed. Later T-shirt designs commemorate special events. Club members have worn specially designed uniforms to each of the quadrennial Gay Games beginning in 1986.

The first of the club’s annual banquets, put on by Bob Carney, club co-chair, took place in 1984. Jeff Keeny produced a year-in-review slide show, a popular banquet feature through the years.

On June 12, 1982, the club’s first “Run and Stride with Pride” took place in Balboa Park as part of San Diego Pride weekend.

On May 21, 2005, the membership voted to change the name of the club to Front Runners & Walkers San Diego, to better reflect the activities of the club.