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Seattle Frontrunners to compete in Copenhagen
Seattle Frontrunners to compete in Copenhagen
by Nick Ardizzone - SGN Staff Writer

The Seattle Frontrunners, a walking and running club composed of over 300 Gay and Lesbian athletes and their friends, will send 38 members to compete in this year's World Outgames in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Seattle Gay News spoke with Frontrunners coach Len Tritsch about the history of his organization and the importance of representing Seattle in the Outgames.

"In 1984, the Lesbian Resource Center sponsored Seattle's first Run With Pride," Tritsch said. "Shortly thereafter, a couple of the Lesbians who had worked with the Center decided, with the assistance of four or five other runners, to form a running club.

"I was not involved with Seattle Frontrunners until I moved to Seattle in 1991," he explained. "Prior to that, I lived in Oregon and competed and traveled worldwide to compete as a member of the Portland Track Club. I started coaching the Seattle Frontrunners in 1994 in preparation for the Gay Games in New York."

"I discovered that Frontrunners is an international organization, I then started organizing for international competition," said Tritsch.

The Frontrunners have found their competition in the World Outgames, an international tournament which "celebrates the talents and contributions of Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender men and women from every corner of the globe," according to their website (www.copenhagen2009.org). Tritsch registered the Frontrunners, and the team went on to compete in several tournaments. "The Seattle Frontrunners now hold many of the records, especially in the 45 and up age groups," Tritsch said.

The 38 selected Frontrunners are already training for the 2009 games, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. "We do not look at the training as difficult, rather that it is challenging as we set our goals based on the winning times from the last two games," he explained. "We look at the first-, second- and third-place times and develop individual goals, and from that we put together a 26-week training program for each athlete."

Tritsch finds the opportunity to take Seattle runners to Denmark very rewarding. "It provides great satisfaction, because the athletes are dedicated. We are a very diverse group, with the youngest being 28 and the oldest 84. We have a great variety of professions, and we care for each other."

The Frontrunners have a simple goal at this year's upcoming Outgames: "To be the best team, and the biggest," Tritsch said.

When asked if the Frontrunners planned on making Seattle proud in the Outgames, Tritsch showed he was already ahead of the pack. "We will do more than plan," he said, "we will make Seattle proud, as we have since 1984."

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