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May 1

President’s Address - May, 2013

Being on the SFFR Team

FrontRunners can be viewed as many things… An exercise group, a social club, or even a dating pool, but it benefits most from one, underlying thing: We are a team.

Yes, running tends to be more of a solitary sport, but we still find a sense of being a team during races, regular runs/walks, and even outside of the world of running/walking. Our sense of team is strengthened by the other bonds we share, whether it be supporting or being LGBT people, loving being outdoors and being in the Bay Area, or even the sense of the desire to create and enhance our community.

We all benefit from being on this team and supporting one another. The SF FrontRunners team can be a source of fun, a network of ideas and support, a well-oiled machine that organizes and participates in important community events, or even a place to unwind and let out your frustrations in a trusting space.

We can all see how we benefit from being on the team, but how do we build it to become stronger and how do we show our support for one another?

There are many ways to build up the team and support our fellow teammates. We can participate in events, share ideas, be there for one another, and make an effort to be open to change.

We can support our runners at events, such as our relay team, who will once again be competing this coming weekend in the 199 mile Calistoga to Santa Cruz Relay.

We can work hard and volunteer time to raise funds both for FrontRunners and charities, such as Larkin Street Youth Services, our 2013 Pride Run Beneficiary.

We can don our new team uniforms and march in the Pride Parade on our first-ever FrontRunners float, promoting our team and ideas to thousands of people.

We can find ways to celebrate our upcoming 40 years of being a club, honoring great traditions and adding fresh ideas and new life as well.

We can volunteer at an event, such as the upcoming SFFR Water Station during the SF Marathon in June, showing our support for fellow FrontRunners and runners in general. As part of a running and walking team, it is crucial to show support for all runners/walkers, especially in the wake of the recent events in Boston.

It goes without saying that our team’s strength relies on every member putting effort into making the team strong, so consider what you bring to FrontRunners, and how you can help contribute to your team.

See you soon!
Brian

May 1

Women’s Outreach Column - May, 2013

Reflections on the Boston Marathon, 2013

The Boston Marathon is a symbol of many things – for me, for the city of Boston, for the region of New England, for runners absolutely everywhere. So two weeks ago, when the bombings occurred that maimed hundreds and killed several, we were all shaken up.

I’m from Boston. Well, I grew up about an hour south of the city proper, but I lived in Massachusetts for ten years, and Boston for six of those, right up until I moved to California last spring. I grew up with my father running marathons – including Boston – and inspiring me to run. Running was the big sport in my family – something we all celebrated. No one in the family was ever going to be an Olympic runner, but that wasn’t the point – running is something you do to stay healthy, to feel positive, and to test your mettle on race days. I like to think it’s in my blood, or maybe in my legs.

So I grew up a runner. I graduated from shorter “fun runs” to running regular races with my dad as a kid, to running track in high school, to captaining my cross-country team in college. My family came to almost every race, rain or shine.

After college, it was all about the Boston Marathon. I was even supposed to run it last year, though an injury halted me during training. I lived right near the course and never once missed the race – I would cheer for hours, watching from the sidelines and encouraging the runners all along the last mile. I would go from block to block over the course of the afternoon, and always visit the finish line. That was always a place of joy – where runners triumphed over the infamously tough Boston course, where families and friends came to congratulate their own, where people are so ridiculously proud and happy (and exhausted) that the goodwill rubs off on everyone.

That got taken away – so violently that it was shocking – this year. People were denied that goodwill. Runners were denied their place at the finish. People were robbed of their lives – and for many, their limbs.

I was so shaken when I heard the news that I was speechless (which is quite a feat, let me tell you). I was partially shocked because this was the first year since 2006 that I wasn’t right there at the finish line – I know that I would have physically been standing at that spot, in the middle of the bloodbath, had I not moved to San Francisco. There’s a spot of survivor’s guilt in all of this that I can’t help but feel.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about the fact that all things precious to runners – the satisfaction of the finish line, the safety of our family and friends, the well-being of our sport and our community – was attacked so viciously that it hurts. My sister – also a runner – was angrier than I’ve seen her in years that day. “Who hates runners?” she asked, knowing fully that it wasn’t about that, but trying to lighten the mood.

It’s impossible to understand the motivations of a terrorist. Let me clarify – I’m sure its possible to logically understand what hatred and vitriol can do to the human mind, but it’s impossible for me to emotionally understand why someone would do this. Especially at the marathon.

I’ve tried to focus on the response of medical personnel and brave bystanders who rushed in to help. I was particularly amazed/proud of the runners who immediately volunteered to give blood, just after finishing the race. That is badass, pure and simple.

I’m going to think of that – the courage of those folks, the sheer force of will it must have taken to run towards the victims instead of away from danger - every time I step across a finish line from now on. That’s the spirit of the Boston Marathon – and the spirit of the community – that no act of terror can ever take away.

-Danielle Riendeau

Dec 1

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN - DECEMBER 2012

Rejoice, SF FrontRunners!

It’s the holiday season—a time of mythologized joy and harmony. If you enjoyed a warm, fuzzy Thanksgiving in the company of loved ones and expect a similar glow around upcoming celebrations, Congratulations! Statistics-meister Nate Silver says you are in a minority of 9.8% of those who experience zero holiday-related dread. (OK, I made that up; the real percentage is probably lower.)

But that’s where SF FrontRunners saves the day. If you are among the .033% of the membership who read and recall my February column (link), you know that I consider running a relationship on three levels:

·      It allows us to socialize with others and get exercise at the same time.

·      It helps us commune with the environment to take in fresh air and the beauty of the landscape.

·      It connects us to ourselves, freeing up our minds and purging unproductive thoughts.

Now, this is a time of year when relationships are especially key, be they with family, friends, significant others, or even just ourselves. There must be thousands of pop psychology books that help us navigate relationships, and frankly, I tend to steer clear of them. I don’t give a damn what color your parachute is so long as it matches your shoes and belt. And it makes no difference to me if you are an ENFJ or ISTP with Myers Briggs, or sing EIEIO with Old MacDonald all day long.

Recently, though, a close friend got me thinking about what people in a relationship value most, and I couldn’t help but relate these five points to FrontRunners.

1.    Quality time—running together gives us a chance to connect with others (or our inner selves) and escape from the pressures of other aspects of our lives.

2.    Appropriate physical touch—this is not about sex. This is about warm hugs and platonic intimacy, the camaraderie of the group. It can include inhaling and exhaling in sync alongside your running partner, your heart pounding in your chest, the scent of your sweat intermingling in the air…ok, maybe it can get sexual, but it doesn’t have to!

3.    Words of affirmation—have you ever run a race and been cheered on by volunteers and spectators along the route? Or maybe you’ve been the one shouting words of encouragement. Who hasn’t felt a boost in adrenaline to keep going and push through to the end?

4.    Acts of service—nearly all of you have given generously of your time in some way: working a water station, hosting a social night, taking an active role in the Pride Run to benefit charitable organizations, and much more. This is what makes us a stronger club than just a bunch of people who randomly run together.

5.    Receiving gifts—it’s nice to get recognition for a job well done: a finisher’s medal, an award, or a thank-you gift for hosting an event.

These points come from The 5 Love Languages (link) by Gary Chapman. Surprisingly, the focus of the book is decidedly heterosexual and beyond the edges of my religious comfort zone. Still, we’re all human and hunger for connection; it’s important to find common ground with those different from us. (An interesting note is that people prioritize these five needs differently. If you’re curious, you can take a quiz (link) and deduce which is most important to you.)

Thank you, SF FrontRunners, for showing up week in and week out to run and have fun. The board—Brian Ray, Rick Aguilar, and Clayton Bullock—and I have worked hard to put the best interests of the club first and continue the long-standing tradition of social events, volunteerism, and, of course, running—and walking—for our overall wellbeing. Please continue to stay active and keep this fine organization humming along at 100%.

-B 

Brent Sverdloff

President 2012

San Francisco FrontRunners

president@sffr.org

www.sffr.org

Nov 1

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN - NOVEMBER 2012

Greetings, SF FrontRunners!

Mid-October found me in St. Louis for the International FrontRunners Conference—plus a Rock N Roll Half-Marathon and playoff games between the Giants and the Cardinals. My race time was relatively swift on an unfamiliar course with lots of twists and turns thanks to my very dignified strategy: sport a Giants jersey and taunt the Cardinals fans in the pack: “you gonna let a San Francisco fan twice your age overtake you? C’mon, pick up the pace!” It was very motivating for all parties. And the course was largely scenic. The sun poked out over the famous Arch as we all crowded into our corrals for the 7am start. Stately brick Victorian mansions lined the streets of the Soulard and Shaw districts, with thick canopies of oak and gingko trees dropping their fall foliage onto still lush lawns. And I’ve never seen so many school-age children turn out for support—doing choreographed gymnastics and ballet routines, brandishing homemade signs (“Run, stranger, run!” and “Paul Ryan ran by here 2 ½ hours ago!”), distributing water and Gatorade with great earnestness, and cheering loudly.

Back to the International FrontRunners Conference. Given the Midwestern location, it’s not surprising that most of those in attendance hailed from the Jello Belt (a blobby line running north-south, just west of the Mississippi). Delegates from clubs in Kansas City, Austin, Chicago, Houston, and of course St. Louis were there, plus reps from DC, Boston, and patched in via Internet, Sydney and Ottawa (think the “cone of silence” from old Get Smart episodes; technology has not come as far as we’d like to think. Sigh.). In addition to planning for major gay sporting events happening next year in Antwerp, Belgium and Akron, Ohio, the most engaging part of the four-hour meeting was sharing best practices among the clubs. Our friends from Austin (link) have a whiz-bang registration system in place for new members. The folks from Boston (link)  have a well-organized model for charity runs that’s been in place for over two decades. And in St. Louis, FR board terms are two years, instead of just one. I regret that there were no reps from cities with larger FR populations, such as Seattle, New York, Los Angeles. It would have been terrific to hear what keeps them running strong.

As we are the founding chapter of FrontRunners worldwide (link), other clubs look to San Francisco as a leader. And we don’t disappoint. Relative to other clubs, SFFR offers social events practically every week, boasts about 220 paid members, allows members to recoup their dues (and actually make money) through discounts with multiple businesses (link), and spans the broadest spectrum of “bipedal activity”—from walkers to runners to track and field competitors.

Huge thanks go to current and former vice-presidents Brian Ray and Dominic Paris, who have spent inordinate amounts of time—and still do—on SFFR’s dazzling website and communications. The branded membership and outreach cards that Brian designed always impress, and the FrontRunners from other chapters were eager to see them.

Be proud of SFFR! We are a national leader. If you’re reading this column, you’re probably among the club’s more active members. Support SFFR by running for office next year (link) and buying tickets to the end-of-the-year banquet on December 7 (link). What are you waiting for? Pick up the pace!

-B 

Brent Sverdloff

President 2012

San Francisco FrontRunners

president@sffr.org

www.sffr.org

Oct 1

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN - OCTOBER 2012

Greetings, SF FrontRunners!

San Francisco has long been known for its jubilant spontaneity. Some unseen force urges residents to be overly familiar overly quickly. Total strangers will reveal shockingly intimate things about themselves on MUNI, at the grocery store, or in line for a show. Sometimes it can be a little much, but overall I find it a refreshing change from Boston, where I moved from five years ago. I had many nicknames for that architecturally lovely but emotionally stingy place: The City that Always Sleeps, The City that Never Smiles, and The Big Crab Apple.

One of the downsides to our impulsive behavior here can be a failure to plan in advance. In an age of distracting social media, a person can be Tweeted, FourSquared, or Grindred with a last-minute offer that sounds better. So when it comes to committing to plans, people wait. They hem. They haw. They dither. Check “maybe” on the evite. Or simply fall silent.

The point of October’s column is to tell you this: There Is Joy in Commitment! I’m asking you to devote the evening of Friday, December 7 to the club’s End of the Year Banquet.

Our event will be held at the City Club in the heart of the financial district (map). This year we have secured twice the space we did last year, which means we have room for a DJ and dance floor. It also means we can accommodate up to 140 guests.

Thanks to successful fundraising events this year—marathon water stations, jello shot sales at Lookout, a performance by the Kinsey Sicks, and more—SFFR is able to partially subsidize the ticket costs. Tickets will go on sale later this month, and we will offer you the best discount we can to make the event affordable. Expect a three-course plated dinner: salad, choice of chicken/pork/or vegetarian entrée, and dessert. There will be a full bar, and SFFR will buy you the first drink.

Musical entertainment will be provided courtesy of DJ O. If you were among the 500+ participants at this year’s Pride Run, you will remember DJ O as the gal with the kicky tunes who got us all up and jumping around at the start of the race. We’ll have the rooms until 11pm, so plan to dance your aerobically fit hearts out—finishing early enough to get a good night’s sleep before the Saturday run, of course.

We know that SFFR members don’t get the chance to see each other fully clothed very often, and we want you to enjoy unbridled mingling for the five hours that we have the space. That said, we will beg your attention for a mercifully brief but significant Awards Ceremony. It’s important to honor the volunteers who have made strong contributions to the club. We’ll also be announcing the names of the board officers for 2013.

We’ll alert you when tickets go on sale. Meanwhile, take a virtual tour of the space (link) and explore the building’s elegant Art Deco delights.

Remember, There Is Joy in Commitment! Buy your tickets at your earliest opportunity to reap the best price and ensure a seat at the table and a spot on the dance floor.

-B

Brent Sverdloff

President 2012

San Francisco FrontRunners

president@sffr.org

www.sffr.org

Oct 1

Monthly Women’s Column - October 2012

With the many changes this year has brought to our club, we want to explore how Women’s Outreach has evolved recently and where our sights are set for taking outreach within and beyond SF FrontRunners.

We set out with a list of parameters as we sought to refresh our Women’s Outreach (and newcomer outreach) efforts:

-Create a team of outreach contacts to not only increase ideas flowing in, but reduce the amount of weight and work on each contact.

-Welcome everyone within the club to be an outreach contact, regardless of gender.

-Foster an environment that is inviting to Women that welcomes and celebrates women in the club while trying to avoid “sorting” or marginalizing anyone.

-Increase the scope of efforts for Women’s Outreach.

-Increase participation and visibility of women within the club.

-Create an open, respectful, and constructive dialogue among outreach contacts, newcomers, and members about ideas and changes for Women’s Outreach.

With these parameters in mind, we move onward and outward with our Women’s Outreach efforts. It is fitting that our team of Women’s Outreach contacts is comprised of newcomers and existing members alike, because we can incorporate existing ideas and efforts with new, fresh input from more recent members. Our team is currently comprised of Danielle Riendeau, Megan Schlegel, Judith Kahan, and Brian Ray.

Some tasks and goals that we have been working towards include:

-Renewing and/or beginning advertising on websites such as Craigslist, Meetup.com, Dykealicious, and Betty’s List.

-The creation of the SF FrontRunner Women twitter page (A special thanks to Danielle), which you can follow here (link).

-Continuation of the monthly Women’s Column, that offers insight and ideas from women, men, and sponsors in and around the club.

-Continued search for more club sponsors that offer services to women, such as See Jane Run.

-Increasing efforts within the club to make women members more visible, such as club material (posters, event items, website images), club runs and events (regular runs, bar night venues, movie night hosts, fundraiser participants), and our Women tab on the website.

-Evolving the Monthly Women’s run into Newcomers and Women’s Outreach Day, which is more inviting and open to visitors and existing members.

We are happy to share that efforts are already paying off. Our Women FrontRunners Twitter account is growing a healthy group of followers. We also successfully held our most recent dive bar night at Lexington, an awesome lesbian bar. We have more of a constant presence of women at our Tuesday and Saturday runs. We even had an awesome female SFFR member serve jell-o shots at our recent JOCK fundraiser. Finally, our combined online efforts have made our club significantly more visible to people searching for LGBT clubs in the Bay Area.

Our outreach efforts will steadily grow, and can really experience boosts when all SFFR members help spread the word. Even if you have invited people in the past or told friends about the club, consider if there is something new that these friends and acquaintances might enjoy if they came back and visited again. Outreach is a lifeline for our club, as it pumps newcomers into our club and introduces them to such an amazing environment. Not only do they benefit from our group, but we become more enriched and diverse through them.

All of this is promising and feels like a great step in the right direction. Our efforts continue and we welcome help and input from everyone as we move forward. Think how you can help and what sort of impact you can make.

Stay tuned for more news from Women’s Outreach!

Sep 5

Runner Bio - Tom Ortenzi

 

This week’s Runner Bio interview is with SF FrontRunners member Tom Ortenzi.

How long have you been running with FrontRunners (SF and elsewhere) and what attracted you to the club?

I started running with FrontRunners in London about 8 years ago — Saturday morning runs in Hyde Park and then brunch in South Kensington. Those crafty Brits even have a shower facility for after the run, and as you might expect, some individuals were chronically late for brunch! At the time, I had no idea that the original FR club was based in SF, or why the club was named as such. After living in London, Mario, a good running friend of mine in Madrid, gave me the book “El Corredor de Fondo,” the Spanish translation of The Front Runner. Then things started to make a lot more sense. Once I moved back to SF 6 years ago, Peter Farmer encouraged me to join SFFR. Fortunately, he can be very persuasive.

Where did you grow up and what brought you to the Bay Area?

I grew up in Pennsylvania — Pocono Mountains to be precise — right along the Delaware River and border with New Jersey. I first moved to SF after grad school in the early 1990s because, miraculously, in the midst of a bad recession, my one and only job offer was right in downtown SF. Little did I know how much taking that job would change my life. I left SF in 1998, but returned in 2006 and have called the West Coast home ever since.

What do you do for work?

My work is in financial/economic consulting, mainly for corporate clients who are involved in some sort of dispute. Remember the recent patent dispute between Apple and Samsung? I’d be the kind of consultant either party would hire to figure out how much the patents at issue were worth, and how much Samsung should have to pay to Apple for having used them. However, I’m currently thinking of leaving consulting and am interested in a financial/CFO-like role, though — in case you know of anything open!

What are your other interests and pursuits?

Travel and languages are my two things that I’m very passionate about. I’m almost always taking some sort of language class, and planning an overseas trip is something that I look forward to. In my opinion, traveling is one of the best things you can do to educate yourself and broaden your horizons. Definitely my “drug” of choice.

Are you involved with any other clubs around the Bay Area or elsewhere?

I do volunteer with a few professional and social organizations in the Bay Area, but SFFR has been one of the mainstays of my social network in SF.

Before coming to FrontRunners, did you do much running or any other active activity on a regular routine?

Running has been a part of my life for 15 years and I’ve been conscious about exercising for 25+ years, so joining FR was a great addition to my never-ending quest to get fit.

What is one of your fondest memories of FrontRunners so far?

There’s no specific moment that stands out. But, I can definitely say that I’ve gotten to know other members REALLY well during a 5-mile run where all we talked about was our respective Friday night activities! That is always a fun (and often educational) way to expand one’s circle of friends.

Any advice to newcomers to the club and running/fitness?

The first run with the group can be a bit intimidating if you don’t know any of the members. Many members like to chat with friends as they run, and use the opportunity to catch up with people they haven’t seen for a few weeks/months. So, don’t be afraid to find somebody who runs at your pace and ask them about what they did on Friday night! Of course, go to brunch afterwards too. Once the endorphins have kicked in and food is on the table, you’ll be sure to meet a bunch of interesting and very friendly people.

Thanks, Tom, for a wonderful interview!

Stay tuned for a new Runner Bio each week. Be sure to check out the existing Runner Bios on our official site.

Sep 1

Monthly Women’s Column - September 2012

The Little Black Dress Run is Saturday, September 8th!

A grateful shout-out to SFFR member Anne Ludwig for her major contribution to this month’s column.

The Little Black Dress Run is a longstanding tradition with SF FrontRunners—and the event that year-over-year attracts the most female participants. From sexy little numbers to widow’s weeds, from witch’s cloaks to over-the-top showgirl attire, women and men alike get increasingly creative with costumes that they can actually run in.

The Little Black Dress Run (LBDR) is a classier take on the Red Dress Run started by the Hash House Harriers nearly 25 years ago. Here’s the origin story, according to www.reddressruns.org (link):

In 1987, a young lady wearing a red dress emerged from an airplane that had landed in southern California to visit a friend from her high school years. Shortly thereafter, she found herself transported to Long Beach, where her friend intended to introduce her to a zany running group called the “Hash House Harriers.” One member, noting her gender and attire, urged that she “just wait in the truck” until her host returned. With that goading, she ran into history sporting her red dress and heels.

A year later, to commemorate the event, the San Diego Hash House Harriers sent “The Lady In Red” an airline ticket to attend the first annual Red Dress Run. Hundreds of male and female hashers adorned themselves in red dresses for a spectacle widely covered by California newspapers and TV news. In addressing the crowd, The Lady In Red suggested that Hash House Harriers hold the Red Dress Run annually as an opportunity to raise funds for local charities.

Fast forward to the year 2000. Anne Ludwig of SFFR and Terri Hill of the Baylands club organized the first LBDR. Baylands was a big part of the early success of this event and continued cohosting for the first couple of years. Attempts to rotate the venue among Baylands, San Jose, and San Francisco didn’t gel, and SFFR has been the sole host since 2002, which was a banner year for the event. Why? Because the annual International FrontRunners conference was held the prior year in San Diego, and there was a desire to host an event for West Coast clubs. The turnout was spectacular, with members coming from the Bay Area and beyond: Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Orange County, and San Diego. The LBDR has become an annual fundraiser for the Sydney Frontrunners (pictures at www.sydneyfrontrunners.org (link)).

Today, SFFR’s LBDR usually attracts members from other Bay Area clubs, new runners, more women, members of the media and local celebrities—some of whom have even served as guest judges, like Donna Sachet and Jose Cisneros (though the discerning eyes of SFFR members Chuck Louden and Leslie Adams have added grounded dignity to the proceedings). On some occasions, the SF Chronicle has even turned up to cover the event.

Prizes are awarded according to both time-honored categories (Best Female, Best Male, Best Hat (or other accessory), Best Slut, Best Strut) and brand-new categories inspired by the inventiveness of the participants (too soon to tell). Expect some handmade prizes to be treasured for a lifetime, along with fabulous accessories that no exhibitionist should be without.

Just as with the club’s recent Superhero/Supervillain themed run, all humans great and small—and their pets—are encouraged to take part. Kids and dogs are never too young to sport a little black dress.

So, get cracking! Start shopping, borrow a dress, and raid the vintage clothing shops in the Haight and on Valencia Street for clothing, tiaras, cosmetics, and other must-have items. In a pinch, Cliff’s Variety and Walgreen’s will do, too. Give thanks to “The Lady in Red” who kicked off this whole affair a quarter century ago, and to the women in FrontRunners who can show us all how to really work a dress. 

Sep 1

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN - SEPTEMBER 2012

 

Greetings, SF FrontRunners!

Soon it will be voting time in America, and I have some very good news for you. This year’s election will feature candidates who simply want to serve and are not motivated by career advancement. They will not be affiliated with any particular party. They will not formulate policies that interfere with reproductive rights or same-sex marriage. Instead, they will be actively engaged in responsible fiscal management and creating fun social events and volunteer opportunities for their constituency. I am, of course, referring to the annual election of SFFR club officers.

We’ll make this easy for you. Here are five compelling reasons why you should run or nominate someone to be president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, or officer at large:

1.     Be part of a longstanding tradition. San Francisco FrontRunners was established almost forty years ago as the first LGBT sports club devoted to running. It has since spawned over 100 chapters worldwide. There is great satisfaction in knowing that you are stewarding an organization with a vibrant history and a promising future.

2.     Strengthen your relationships. A recent New York Times article (link) pointed out what we already know: while health concerns motivate many people to start running, “what keeps them exercising are the friendships, sense of community, and camaraderie that may otherwise be missing from their lives…” As a club officer, you will get to know more members even better and be amazed how, year after year, so many remain pro-active in volunteering, organizing social events, maintaining the club’s infrastructure, and so much more. You’ll also bond tightly with your fellow board mates.

3.     Become a better runner. Whether “better” for you means running faster, farther, or more frequently, deeper involvement with the organization will have you improving your technique. You’ll also be among the first to learn new training tips, receive early notifications about special running events and deals, and get privileged access to special events as part of the club’s leadership.

4.     Give back to the community. San Francisco FrontRunners has been a lifeline for so many people, and it is worthy of support. Members have shared with me stories of how regular participation has helped them overcome major obstacles in their lives. It feels good to take a leadership role in an organization that promotes overall well-being—physically, socially, and mentally.

5.     Exercise your creativity. The club relishes community events that are simply fun (movie nights, bar nights, themed runs, theater outings, etc.) or generate operating expenses for the club (water stations at races, beverage booths at Pride, partnerships with performing arts groups like the Kinsey Sicks, and the JOCK jello shot fundraiser (link) coming up at The Lookout on September 23). Officers are encouraged to keep popular events going and seek or create new ones. The sky’s the limit because anything you can think of is one degree removed from running or being gay.

Bookmark the following web page: http://www.sffr.org/page/show/477915-2012-sffr-board (link). There you’ll be able to email questions to current board members, review the bylaws, and read position descriptions. (See the PDFs at the bottom of that web page.)

SFFR members Tim Allen and Brennan Brockbank have graciously agreed to head up the Nominations Committee this year, bringing their knowledgeable experience with the process along with broad and deep connections to the membership. They are looking for one or two more people to join them. If you are not running for office, contact nominations@sffr.org to be part of their committee. The process continues through October and November, with election results announced in December.

It has been a privilege to serve as SFFR president this year. I am grateful to the other officers—Brian Ray (vice-president), Clayton Bullock (officer at large/secretary), and Rick Aguilar (treasurer)—for their steadfast collaboration. Ask us anything to help you make up your mind to run for office.

-B

Brent Sverdloff

President 2012

San Francisco FrontRunners

president@sffr.org

www.sffr.org

 

Runner Bio - Tony Sourmany and Homer Perez

This week, our Runner Bio spotlights Homer Perez and Tony Sourmany, two veteran FrontRunners who met 10 years ago in the club.

Where is each of your originally from and what brought you to the Bay Area?

TONY: I was raised in Santa Barbara and moved to San Francisco for college at SF State for track and a BA in Psychology. The SFSU coach called me up when I still lived in Santa Barbara to recruit me for his team. I had made many family visits to San Francisco before I moved and had always liked the city.

HOMER: I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and came to the Bay Area in 2001. I am the only relative out of eight generations living outside of Texas! I moved here because a lot of my college friends from MIT lived here and the city has such a vibrant, alluring soul.

What is your running history before joining SF FrontRunners?

TONY: I ran for Santa Barbara City College before going to SFSU. My races were the 800, 1500 meters, and the 2-mile. My times were pretty good and are still in the top ten lists at SBCC.

HOMER: I started distance running as a hobby when I was in college to stay in shape, and I ran at most 3 to 6 miles a week. I kept it up off-and-on after college but did not do anything competitively until I got to San Francisco.

How did you get involved with FrontRunners and what attracted you to the club?

TONY: I got involved with Frontrunners back in 1997. I had recently bumped into a friend from high school who came out to me. He told me about the club; I had no idea that gay sports clubs even existed! I came to a Stow Lake and was happy to meet so many nice people. I became a member and worked hard to get back into running shape. I also liked all the social events going on: movie night, the ski trip, and the trips to Yosemite.

HOMER: My good friend Howie Chan and I usually did a Coit Tower run on Tuesdays. Howie found the SF FrontRunners’ website and told me they had a Tuesday night run along the Embarcadero. I was so frightened to attend because I was not a strong runner back then and had just recently moved to San Francisco, so I was not sure what to expect. I practically clung onto Howard the first few months in the club to the extent that people thought we were a couple. It wasn’t until we had been in the club several months that I felt more comfortable and fell in love with Tony.

What does each of you do for work?

TONY: I am a special education algebra teacher at Lincoln High School. Most of the students I work with have mild learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. I enjoy teaching and working with young people.

HOMER: By day I am a mild-mannered senior account executive for a retail environments fixture manufacturing company. By night and on weekends, I am a licensed architect and run my architecture and green building consulting practice.

What has been one of your fondest memories in FrontRunners so far?

TONY: One of my most memorable experiences with FrontRunners was when I ran the Calistoga to Santa Cruz relay race back in 1998. I was still new to the club and felt that I was not a strong runner, yet. I volunteered to drive one of the vans for the relay team. One of the runners had to drop out last minute, and I became the de facto twelfth runner. I felt very intimidated by all the good runners on the team, but the guys were very encouraging. We placed tenth over all and beat both the army and navy teams that year. After that, my confidence as both a runner and an individual soared!

HOMER: You mean besides meeting Tony? I’d say being the club’s secretary in 2011. Although it was a lot of work, it was so much fun being on the Board and getting to meet new members, fortifying my friendships with existing members, and supporting the club. After that, I agree with Tony that doing the Calistoga to Santa Cruz Relay was phenomenal. I like to consider that experience a Frontrunner version of “Waiting to Exhale”.

What do you both enjoy in your free time?

HOMER: When we’re not working, we like to travel, go running (of course!), swimming, hiking, kayaking, gardening, cooking and, Tony’s newest hobby, sailing.

TONY: Learning to sail has taken up much of my time this past summer. I also enjoy reading mystery novels, eating out, going to movies and live performances.

It’s well known that SF FrontRunners has a special place in your relationship.

HOMER: It’s true. We met in Frontrunners 10 years ago. Tony had already been a member for five years. As I mentioned before, I showed up with my friend Howie Chan, and most people assumed we were a couple.

TONY: After a couple of weeks, from the way they were so outwardly social with others, I figured that they were probably just friends. I finally got the nerve to run near enough to Homer to say hi, and then I ran away because I felt so nervous. Later, we shyly spoke to each other again.

HOMER: I invited Tony to the Yoko Ono exhibit at SFMOMA with some friends. While there, we barely spent any time with our other friends and enjoyed the exhibit and each other’s company.

TONY: For the first time in a long time, I did not want the date to end. We have been celebrating that date (August 17th) as our anniversary ever since.

What kind of advice would you give members for having a healthy and happy relationship like yours?

HOMER: I think that our relationship has developed and flowered because we enjoy each other’s company and complement each other well.

TONY: I am a very shy dancer, but Homer is very outgoing. He always puts me at ease. I think that we are both pretty patient and compromising. We encourage each other to pursue our interests.

HOMER: Our families and friends have been supportive of us, too. So, the best advice I can give other people is to meet someone with whom you can compromise and enjoy the complementary aspects that your partner brings to the relationship.

Any advice to newcomers to the club?

TONY: I think the best way to enjoy the club beyond just running is to involve yourself by volunteering and showing up to some of the social events.

HOMER: Tony’s got it right. Enjoy yourself as much you can by being an active participant. As someone who’s been an officer—the (very social) Secretary—and won prizes for best costume at Halloween and the Little Black Dress Run, there is no end to the fun you can have!

Thank you, Tony and Homer, for sharing your stories with us. And Happy Anniversary to you on August 17!

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