Alex Wilson had long enjoyed running track in high school and long distance during his time at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. So it was kind of a no brainer when he saw a Blade notice in 1981 that a new gay running group was forming.
He’s been in D.C. Front Runners ever since. The group celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend. Wilson has since run seven marathons, competed in three Gay Games with the group and coached the ’98 team in Amsterdam. He was a coordinator in ’95, ’96 and ’97 and is the member with the longest continual membership.
When he started with the group, there were only about 10 regular runners and all were in their 20s and 30s.
The group now has hundreds on its roster and members span all ages.
“I think it started as kind of a nice alternative to the bars, especially when the bars were so smoky,” Wilson, 57, says. “It was a healthy alternative and it was pretty neutral. There were no winners or losers. It’s a very welcoming place and I think a lot of times people are somewhat nervous about how to enter the gay social world in Washington, how to come out. They do it in baby steps. A good way to start is to join the running team.”
The group has several runs each week. The Saturday 10 a.m. runs that start at 23rd and P streets, N.W,. are a long-running tradition in the group. Men and women can join and all ability levels are welcome. Visit the group online here. Sister groups exist all over the world and welcome out-of-town runners.
Wilson met his partner of 29 years at Rascals, a now-closed gay bar just off Dupont Circle, in 1980. They had a commitment ceremony on their 10th anniversary but got married last fall.
Wilson, a Binghamton, N.Y., native is director of academic development at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson High School by day. He’s especially proud of an LGBT plan approved within the school system two weeks ago that aims to “create an inclusive school community” with anti-bullying policies, stipends for implementation and to help maintain its active gay-straight alliance. More info is here.
Wilson, Abramson and their 11-year-old son Benjamin — an avid soccer player — live at 16th and New Hampshire N.W.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
1976. My Dad.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What is Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Morgan’s on Thursday night in the early 1980s
Describe your dream wedding.
I had it on Oct. 10, 2010.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Making D.C. youth friendly and youth centered.
What historical outcome would you change?
The JFK assassination.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Dancing at The Saint during NYC Gay Pride Weekend 1983.
On what do you insist?
My husband would say everything!
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
I’ll make mine a Tweet: “Identify the source of love in your life and act on it in ever-expanding circles.”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Set Roy Cohn, J. Edgar Hoover, Terry Dolan straight.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Re-creation and recreation.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Disengage from the noise of today’s politics. Listen to your LGBT elders and our youth — in all their diversity — and from that craft the vision for the community we want to live in.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Alan and Ben!
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Talking behind people’s backs.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A diploma for every child.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
What a fun and fantastic ride lay ahead for me as a gay man. Imagine, a gay civil rights revolution celebrated in my lifetime.
No disrespect…but we are SO much more than the federal government and I won’t think of leaving till we have self determination and self governance.