Now an official part of Atlanta Pride’s Stonewall Month, the Pride Run is gearing up for its 23rd annual event.
A collaboration between Atlanta Pride and Front Runners, Atlanta’s LGBT runners group, the 5K run is set for June 22.
The Pride Run has changed considerably since its early days, most notably in the number of competitors and the course, which has previously been held in areas such as Grant Park and Ansley before finding its current home beginning at Piedmont Park. It’s also a more advanced race than it used to be.
“Over the years, we have worked to enhance the quality of certain elements of the race,” said Front Runners President Bernie Colligan. “We have an electronic timing system this year. The route has also been refined and it’s now a high quality one.”
Last year 400 people attended the race and Colligan hopes attendance tops 500 this year. The event brings out a mixture of serious runners, those who walk the course instead of run, and those coming out for the cause or to watch, Colligan said.
Almost all of his organization’s members will be running the race or helping to organize it, he said, calling it Front Runner’s biggest event of the year.
The Pride Run features men’s and women’s divisions, as well as age groups and medals for winners. Colligan estimates 75 percent of the participants are from the LGBT community but says the race is open to all. Last year marked the first time the race was part of Pride’s Stonewall Month slate.
His advice for those new to a run such as this is to “be aware that it’s the last week of June in Atlanta and hot in the area.” He strongly suggests using sunscreen and staying properly hydrated, starting the night before, and bringing plenty of water.
The Pride Run will host a pre-event a week earlier – a beer bust at FROGS Cantina at 3 p.m. on June 15 to raise money.
According to Gary Schafer, the event’s social promoter, the event is a time to come out, have fun and help raise money for a worthy cause.
Each year the Pride Run scours the community and takes requests to find a beneficiary. Money raised from the 2013 Pride Run will benefit both Atlanta Pride and Lost-N-Found Youth.
Top photo: Atlanta Pride Run (file)