DC Front Runners Washington, DC's LGBTQ+ Running & Walking Club

Member Profile – Norman Reich

Profession: IT Consulting / Business Owner
Education: Master’s in Computer Science Software and Systems from the George Washington University; Bachelor’s in Computer Science (minor in Computer Mapping) from the University of Maryland at College Park
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Member Since: September 2015
Favorite Route: Roosevelt Island
Bet You Didn’t Know… Norm lived one year in Israel as a toddler.

Meet Norm Reich

A Prolific Runner and Integral Part of DC Front Runners

Norm Reich started running in April 2015 and hasn’t slowed down. Norm jumped into the sport with a goal of running the 40th Marine Corps Marathon that fall. Now he has 4 marathons and 65 total races under his belt. “The first Marine Corps Marathon will always be my favorite, and I will never forget the tears as I crossed the finish line,” says the small business owner who grew up in Silver Spring, MD. and now lives in Arlington, VA.

Norm’s first DC Front Runner event was the party following the marathon, and the friendliness of fellow runners kept him coming back. He is known for his perennial presence at runs and his dedication to the organization. “If D.C. Front Runners have a mascot it may as well be Norm,” fellow runner Andrew Powaleny said. “His commitment to running and welcoming attitude have made him a friendly face for new and returning members alike.”

For Norm, it’s not just about running. He is a lover of theatre, particularly musicals, and a Disney fan. Learn more about Norm:

Question and Answer with Norm

Why did you join the DC Front Runners? In late April 2015 I started running for health reasons.  After a few weeks of running, I started to enjoy it which I hadn’t expected to happen. Since I grew up in the DC area, I had always heard about people running the Marine Corps Marathon. I decided to challenge myself, and I registered for the marathon to run in October 2015. My training schedule was very intense and regimented, so I ran alone for almost every run.  After I completed the marathon I decided that I wanted to enjoy social aspects as well, and wanted to run with others.

When did you first hear about us? I heard about the group many years ago from a long time member. However, I never really gave it a second thought since I had never considered running for most of my life. Once I started running and enjoying it, I signed up to join the group in September 2015 and started running with the group in early November after finishing the marathon.

What were your first impressions of the group? I was nervous about coming to the group for the first time. I can be shy until I get to know people.  When I came I was very warmly greeted and everyone was very welcoming. I made a point of trying to meet at least one new person at every run that I came to, and everyone was very friendly when I did.

What was your first race? How many have you done since then? My first race that I signed up for was the 40th Marine Corps Marathon in October 2015.  After that I signed up for 2 other races as training and learning experiences.  I ran the Crystal City Twilighter to see what it was like to run a formal race, and I ran the Army Ten Miler to see what it was like to run with thousands of people.  As of July 2017 I will have completed 65 races. 

What are your non-running hobbies and interests? I love theatre, especially musicals.  I have season tickets to some local theaters, and I do Broadway theatre weekends once or twice a year. I also enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with my family and friends. I also love Disney, especially Mickey Mouse. Anyone who has been to be my house knows that well.  I paired it with my new love for running by doing the Disney Dopey Challenge in January 2017 (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, 4 days in a row).  I registered to do it again in January 2018, but this time I am bringing many fellow DC Front Runners with me.

What advice or recommendations would you give to other people joining Front Runners? I would say that the most important part is to enjoy it and to have fun.  It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, or how far you want to run.  There are members in every category and everyone fits in.  Be yourself.

Do you have a favorite Front Runners memory? I have so many amazing memories it’s hard to decide. One of my favorites was from my first DCFR pot luck after the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. I showed up and was told was that everyone was on the back patio.  I walked out back and saw a huge staircase. After finally making it down and to the nearest chair, I met some of the Front Runners and talked for a while. When the food was ready, to get to it I had to walk back up the steps. I wish I had lost my appetite, but no luck with that. Aside from the steps, my favorite part about the evening is also one of my favorite things about the group. Everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly. I was made to feel like I was included as part of the group even though most had just met me for the first time. That is something that I see all the time with the DCFR, and a big reason why I am so active with the group.  I love that it is not only about running, but about the people and the incredible environment they provide.

What do you feel about the club’s generational mix? I love how the club has such a diverse range of people, age being one of them. There are members of every age group and it brings a lot of insight into and perspective which adds a lot to the group. I have friends that are my age, older, and younger, and I enjoy the company of all of them.

What is your motto in life? Set your goals in all aspects of life and never stop working to achieve them.  I also like Ellen for always saying “Be kind to one another.”

Interview by Justin Fritscher. August 2017.