Have you ever wanted to run on a gorgeous, sunny day, only to stop because you realize it’s too hot? It’s a regular problem in D.C. thanks to sweltering summer temperatures and high humidity, but Jeffrey Gonzalez, coordinator of the DC Front Runners, has a solution for you: change the time you exercise.
“In July and August, we actually move our Saturday morning runs to 9 a.m.,” says Gonzalez, coordinator of the social gay running club, DC Front Runners. “Normally, during the other months, we start at 10 a.m. On Saturdays, we also run along Rock Creek Parkway, which is fairly shaded, and there’s a water fountain at our meetup point.”
It also helps to have a running buddy for motivation, which is why, even on the hottest days of the year, anywhere from 30 to 40 Front Runners will congregate at the statue of Taras Shevchenko near the intersection of 23rd and P Streets NW. The group divides into “pace groups,” based on ability level, and sets out along a pre-planned course. Newer members are often handed a ribbon designating them as a first-time runner, which alerts more experienced members of the club to watch over them and ensure they aren’t abandoned or left alone.
The club currently boasts about 360 active, dues-paying members ($25 per year) and is about to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Gonzalez, who has been running with the Front Runners for the past nine years, says that regardless of skill level, everyone is welcome to join.
“We have people of all different abilities, whether they’re fast or slow or they want to walk,” he says, adding, “Or just go to happy hour with us.”
DC Front Runners meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., and on Saturdays at 9 a.m. during the summer months, for 3- to 6-mile runs or walks. The group also meets on Sundays at 9 a.m. for 8- to 12-mile runs. All runs convene at the intersection of 23rd and P Streets NW. For more information, visit dcfrontrunners.org.
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