Born to run this way: The Portland Frontrunners

By Shaley Howard, PQ Monthly

If you’re looking to meet other people who share your enthusiasm for running, then you need look no further that Portland Frontrunners, a running club for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer individuals and their friends in the Portland area. It’s also an international club that was started in 1974 in San Francisco, inspired by Patricia Nell Warren’s novel, “The Front Runner.” Soon after the initial club began, other FR clubs began to emerge, and now there are about 100 clubs worldwide.

Locally, Portland Frontrunners is celebrating their 10th anniversary. The club is open to runners and walkers of all abilities and ages, and runs cover distances of a few miles all the way up to marathons. The club meets every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning along the downtown Portland waterfront and has a trail run the first Sunday of each month.

In addition to exercise, Frontrunners also provides opportunities to socialize through group activities such as after-run dining, movies in the park, and barbeques.

Former Board member CM Hall recalls, “I met so many great women who became good friends during the ladies night runs — women who were super encouraging of my running efforts. It didn’t matter how fast or slow I was — there were folks there to support each other in a queer athletic context. I loved it.”

The club also does exchanges with FR groups from other cities, recently hosting members of the Vancouver Canada group.

“We had a fantastic time showing them Portland and running together,” says current Frontrunner President Steve Strode.

Similarly, Portland runners attended the Vancouver, B.C., Pride Run.

“Clubs routinely invite other clubs to their events,” Strode says. “A number of Portlanders ran with Palm Springs FR this past February in the half marathon, and we’ve been invited to their Pride Run and party this November, and the half marathon again in February.”

So if you’re a long distance runner, half marathon enthusiast, just starting your running career, or just want to come out, get some great exercise, and meet amazing people from all over, check out the Portland Frontrunners.
Frontrunners is currently looking for a ladies coordinator. For more information go to or contact Steve Strode at 503-490-4116.