Stepping back, figuratively to 1985, what changes do you see in Front Runners and Walkers over the past 31 years?
Before computers, things were handwritten or typed, including the club newsletter. We used the telephone for basic communication including the ‘telephone tree’ to reach people. The wonder of the day was the answering machine! To say nothing of the fact that operating the Pride Run was simpler!
And while you’re there, how did you find the club?
The Reader classifieds ‘attention gay runners’ during my final semester at San Diego State in ’83. I wrote to the PO box listed, requested a ‘non-conspicuous’ reply, and got a friendly welcoming letter and invitation to meet at Sixth & Laurel. And I did and have been coming ever since!
Competitive running is part of your DNA, including the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics marathon trials. Then, there’s your infamous start from the Porta-potty at an LA Pride Run?
I qualified for the 1984 trials with a 2:48, and enjoyed the experience at the trials in Olympia, Washington. The Porta-potty start happened at LA Gay Pride in ’86, in West Hollywood, and operating on Gay Standard Time. At 15 minutes past the official Start, thinking there’s time, I had just dropped my shorts in the PP when I heard the Start gun. Pulling the shorts up as I exited, I caught up, passed all the women, and finished the first woman. Whew!
Your contribution to the growth and success of Front Runners & Walkers include the ever-popular pre-walk and run stretch drill at Saturday fun runs and walks. Let’s hear about that and more.
It’s autopilot in my head now, having led the stretches most every Saturday for years. I miss the annual club group photo, am a fan of Pride run T-shirts. Interval training at City College and Pt. Loma Nazarene campus facilities was great. Being on the Athletes in Motion board for the ’86 and ’90 Gay Games is another highlight.
What’s your take on the state of the club in 2016, and how do you view its future?
Optimistic, now, and for the future. Happy! The club is friendly, energetic, with tech-savvy leaders—great weekly online newsletter/calendar, and continues outreach to women.
You and your spouse, Tiffany Monticino were first domestic partners and then married; what’s the difference?
Tiffany and I became Registered Domestic Partners in 2007 and married in 2008 during the few months of marriage equality in 2008. Marriage a big advance, including the perception of others plus the firm legal status that comes with ‘married.’
Speaking of Tiffany—congrats on her advanced degree and career promotions—what do you do for fun?
Lots of walking together, in and from University Heights. With season tickets to Diversionary Theater, we walk there, to Hillcrest for dinner, coffee houses and meeting friends. We have just one car. We enjoy camping, long weekends, and reading novels aloud to each other. Keep an eye out for Debbie and Tiffany zipping around town on their pink scooter!
What’s your advice to women joining the club on running or walking goals and seeking leadership positions?
If you’re new, come more than once, audition the club three or four times before judging it. Be consistent with what you do, running or walking. Don’t hesitate to volunteer for club events such as the Pride Run. Seek challenge and growth. Reach out to leadership opportunities. I’m still here after all these years!
Debbie is still running strong with the club and placed first in her age group in the recent San Diego AIDS Run in September!