You’d better be warmed up for Capital Pride this year — especially if you’re donning a bib for the inaugural Pride Run.
Friday night’s 5K ($40, 7 p.m., Dcfrontrunners.org) in Congressional Cemetery harks back to the roots of the D.C. Front Runners. The District social club for gay runners and friends formed in 1981 after a dash around Hains Point as part of the annual Pride celebration, but it’s never hosted “a proper run,” race co-director Brian Beary says.
It’s serendipitous that the site is Congressional Cemetery, which Beary only later learned has strong ties to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. (The burial ground is home to the grave of gay activist Leonard Matlovich, whose tombstone reads: “When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”)
Grace Thompson, the Front Runners’ female outreach coordinator, notes that the club strives to be as inclusive as possible by making room for people of any pace. So does this event, which gives participants the option to run or walk the route.
“We want everybody to come and break down barriers,” says Thompson, who encourages people to bring along not just partners but also co-workers and straight allies.
The Pride Run has taken the unusual step of allowing participants to register as male, female or “gender neutral,” a separate category with its own prizes for top competitors. It’s another way to make sure more people feel welcome, adds Thompson, who says she’s never encountered that option at a race.
There should be a few other elements that runners haven’t seen before. Beary notes that drag queens will be on hand to start the race with a glitter gun, a soloist from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will sing the national anthem, and participants will likely be dressed “thematically.”
After crossing the finish line, folks are invited to celebrate with beers courtesy of JR’s Bar & Grill. That’s the other kind of warming up that’s important for Capital Pride.