Melbourne Fronturnners race to the finish line
Melbourne Frontrunners president Neal Giles gives us the lowdown on what he and his team mates are looking forward to at this year's Asia-Pacific Outgames.
What are you looking forward to about competing at Outgames?
This will be my first Outgames and I am really looking forward to seeing what its all about. I am sure it will be great fun and much enjoyment can be hard through networking with other teams and competitors.
They say ‘it’s not about winning but how you play the game’. Would you agree?
Running is such a personal activity that it’s never about the winning but more about chipping away at your own individual targets and achievements. A personal best is a fantastic one to tick off the list and remains a challenge time and again. Everyone one of us can have our own mini-targets and that’s what motivates us to keep coming running time and again.
Events such as the Outgames raise the visibility of the LGBTI community – why do you think events like this are so important?
Events such as the Outgames are really important to providing an alternative view of the LGBTI community which is not the heavily publicised events of Mardi Gras where the sequins and glitter steal the show.
It enables us to present an image that we are just like everyone else but it provides an opportunity for people to compete in sport in a safe and welcoming environment which is not always possible across all sports.
What’s your plan of attack to bring home some medals from the games?
I’d love to say it will be a clean fight but I am not the quickest runner, so my best chance of bringing back medals personally will be through tripping up my opponents.
Ultimately as the club president I am hoping that the rest of the team are the stars and bring back those medals – they are a great bunch and has a history of success at similar events.
Who is your sporting hero and why?
Jason Leonard the ex-England Rugby Union prop. He played 119 times internationally and kept coming back for more taking the hits and leading from the front row of the scrum. His body must have taken a battering and yet he still had the drive to continue playing at the highest level into his mid-30s.
Recently the footy codes and Cricket Australia signed a commitment to develop a framework to end homophobia in sport. Have you ever experienced homophobia in your sport and how did you combat it?
Running is a very individual sport and to be honest everyone who is cheering on the side of the road during big races is providing positive support for all competitors regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender. It’s pretty hard to know that a runner is gay or lesbian from looking at them and that’s a major advantage – however our new bright blue and orange singlets certainly make us stand out from the crowd.
What's the best thing about competing at the Outgames?
This will be my first OutGames so I am just looking forward to making the most of the time in the Top End. Meeting new people and having a bit of a laugh.
Find out more about the Melbourne Frontrunner at www.melbournefrontrunners.com.au.