Dame Kelly Holmes proud to become patron of Belfast’s only LGBTQ+ running club | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Dame Kelly Holmes has become an honorary patron of Belfast’s only LGBTQ+ running club.

The double-Olympic gold medalist has recently moved to South Belfast, and joined the Belfast Front Runners on October 23 for her first 5K run around the Titanic Quarter.

Speaking to Belfast Live outside the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, she spoke about her pride at being involved with the group and the importance of having such safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.

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“It’s really lovely to be part of something quite special. Everyone wants somewhere safe to go, with people they enjoy the company of, and where they feel welcomed and validated,” Kelly said

“The great thing now is you see on television so many sportspeople are very openly out which is huge, and so different from when I competed, when no one was. What I think people should see is that progress over a period of time, there’s still lots more to do, and people want to feel safe and given an opportunity and a chance.

“If you love sport, you love sport, it doesn’t matter who you are. Of course, there are still barriers to our sport at the minute, but we have to do things like this and bring groups together. You have things like parkrun that are inclusive, so it’s about showing that visibility.”

Dame Kelly Holmes speaking to Belfast Live(Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)

Last year, Dame Kelly came out in a widely acclaimed TV documentary, Kelly Holmes: Being Me. The Loose Women presenter will also release her memoir next month, titled ‘Unique’, which focuses on her identity as a gay woman and goes into more detail about her life than she has before.

She said: “It followed the journey of creating my documentary and also documents my first pride, as well as giving a bit of background to my story.

“I did my autobiography a few years ago, so this is me being more open about what I maybe didn’t mention in as much detail the first time, including my first partner, my journey, mental health problems, and how it was going to pride last year for the first time.”

As for running in Belfast, the 53-year-old said she has previously run a number of parkruns throughout Northern Ireland, including at Stormont. However, her run on Monday evening was her first time running in the city centre.

Dame Kelly Holmes joined the Belfast Front Runners for a run through the city centre on Monday night(Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)

Kelly added: “I’m excited to meet the group and get chatting with them, and hopefully meet up with them another time for a social occasion.”

Belfast Front Runners are part of International FrontRunners, a global network of LGBTQ+ running clubs celebrating the power of inclusivity and diversity. The club welcomes everyone from beginner runners to marathon runners and is passionate about providing an inclusive and supportive space for the community to connect.

Formed just over a year ago, the Belfast group now has over 30 members and is over the moon to welcome Dame Kelly as an honorary patron.

Ellis O’Kane from the Belfast Front Runners outside Titanic Belfast(Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)

Jonathan Stewart from Belfast Front Runners said: “It’s really important as Kelly is a prominent LGBTQ+ role model and that’s what our club stands for, and Kelly has done a huge amount for the community.”

Speaking of the importance of having the running club, chairperson Eilis O’Kane, added: “I think it’s really important to have a healthy space queer people can meet and socialise, as a lot of the queer culture is to do with clubs, alcohol, or nights out.

“It’s good to have a safe and healthy space where people can come along no matter whether you’ve just started running or run marathons, it’s just a great chance for people to meet each other.”

The Belfast Front Runners always welcome new members to get involved. You can get in touch by direct messaging their Instagram @belfastfrontrunners or emailing [email protected].

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