I was involved with Ottawa Frontrunners about ten years from November 2003. I did a lot to help develop the organization and served a couple terms as co-chair, and set up and maintained the web site. In these roles, as well as in my participation as a member, I sought to strengthen this resource and provide what I hope is a model to inspire similar organizations. Some of my concrete goals were:
- Provide an easy to find and easy to use resource for prospective members or visitors to find out about the club and its schedule;
- Help club members to find out about events and activities that may be of interest;
- Encourage club participation in activities, including races, and also in attending other organizations' events and providing volunteer resources;
- Archive club activities in the form of newsletters, photos, and event summaries to show the dynamism of the club;
- Emphasize the diversity of our membership in terms of running skills and social and professional background, and encourage people of all backgrounds to join.
It was always a concern to me that a strong organization not rely excessively on the leadership of a few dedicated members. I wanted to develop an organization that would have its own momentum in which other people would naturally step up if a leader left. In part for this reason, I did not want to serve more than a couple terms as co-chair; I wanted to set up process and then move on. I continued helping from the side for a few more years, as web master and advisor. Eventually I burned out from the large investment I had made over the years, ended all leadership, and continued for a while as a regular member. Some people did take over the roles I left behind, though still fewer than I had hoped.
I still enjoy the opportunity to run with International Frontrunners affiliates when I get the opportunity in cities I visit. Many of them also organize Pride Runs during their city Pride festivity. I have been able to particpate in a few of these as well. I would love to organize one in Ottawa, but don't think I will have energy for the immense amount of work involved. Even in the modern world, the existence of GLBT-oriented sports organizations is still an important community resource.