Perth Frontrunners

Our History

In 1974, American author Patricia Nell Warren published "The Front Runner, A Novel, The Most Celebrated Gay Love Story Ever", a fiction novel about a New York running coach and his love affair with a gifted male athlete, and their journey to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The novel is recognised as one of the first novels about gay love to find worldwide popularity, selling 10 million copies, in 7 different languages.

Little did Ms Warren know, but her book was to inspire a worldwide movement. In 1978, a small gay running group in San Francisco decided to pay homage to Warren's novel, and called themselves the "Front Runners". In 1980 a sister gay running group was established in New York City, the Front Runners New York. This running group was followed in rapid succession by others in North America, and then around the world.

Today, 47 years after the first Frontrunner running group was established, Frontrunner running groups exist in over 50 cities around the world. Membership is estimated at at least 15,000 members. In Australia, there are Frontrunner running groups in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

The Frontrunner groups play an important role in LGBTIQ history and contemporary culture around the world. Frontrunner groups play an integral part in facilitating social non-competitive running among the LGBTIQ community. They provide safe spaces to often vulnerable and marginalised runners to find a community in which they can belong. They are also a source of pride to the community, and are regular participants in Pride festivals in the cities where they are located, as well as being sources of athletes to the Gay Games, the next of which will be in Hong Kong in 2022.

The Perth Frontrunners is proud to be part of this legacy. The Perth Frontrunners was first formed in the mid 1990s, and advertised in the Perth gay and lesbian newspaper Westside Observer community notices. Here is a copy of our advertisement from 22 May 1997's edition, being the first public record of the club. 

Perth Frontrunners was then, and is now, an important part of the LGBTIQ+ community in WA. 

Files available for download