Northern Frontrunners Gay 5k race report by Colin Dilks
This was guaranteed to be a race with a difference – the first race organised by the North East’s new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) running club as part of the Pride celebrations over the following weekend. The event had been hit by the bad weather and the course had to be changed at the last minute from Exhibition to Leazes Park which must have created a headache for the organisers who had to fit a 5k race in to a very small park! Fortunately the weather on the day was great which helped create a fun, relaxed atmosphere for what was a fun run to encourage members of the LGBT community to engage in sport and for others to show support for fellow runners and friends.
A field of about 100 participants turned out with probably equal amounts of supporters. TBH fielded 4 runners – as usual we were the largest club contingent. Other clubs represented included Glasgow Frontrunners, Wallsend Harriers and Corby.
The race route was explained by Steven Duffy, Chair of Northern Frontrunners and member of Sunderland Harriers – a lap of the park, 2 laps of the pond and another lap of the park. A speech by Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, followed and then a leggy drag queen got in the back of a convertible mini to lead the way … and off we went.
It was actually more challenging that I expected – Leazes Park is not flat! It felt more like an orienteering course – at several points I was running in the wrong direction and the marshals were hollering the right direction to go but it was all a bit of fun really so I was not that bothered.
Yared Hagos from Wallsend led the runners in with a time of 14.30, shortly followed by Mark Fenwick (TBH) at 16.05 and Tony Carter (TBH) at 16.36. I was timed in at 18.37 which sounds impressive but I did not have my watch with me to confirm the time and I only did 21.02 at the Elswick Cup 5k so I’m not sure how accurate my time was. Stephen John Dixon came in at 23.34 but may have done an extra lap! Anyway it was a fun run and mainly organised to raise the profile of LGBT people in sport and to challenge negative stereotyping, so I don’t think that anyone was really too worried about their times. Everyone I spoke to thought that it had gone well and they had enjoyed the evening and the organisers were hoping that it will become an annual event. Let’s hope so and perhaps next year we can get an even bigger TBH turnout!