The Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run (5M) is always one of the most colorful and spirited celebrations on the NYRR calendar, but the smiles (and rainbows) were even brighter on Saturday after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling granting same-sex couples nationwide the right to marry.
The 34th running of the race kicked off a weekend of Pride celebrations in New York City that the entire country seems to be joining in on, and the joy was evident from the starting horn.
Jason Fluegge, Race Director of the Pride Run and a member of Front Runners New York, said the event has grown every year since 2011—the first race he ever ran—and this year was a culmination.
“We were biting our fingernails yesterday not knowing how or when the decision would fall, but then the energy even at bib pickup was so much bigger,” Fluegge remarked. “People were saying, ‘I’m here! I’ve got to go buy a rainbow tutu and extra glitter!’”
Those rainbow supplies, by the way, were completely sold out around the city according to several runners’ anecdotes. Today’s event was indeed a celebration of so much more than running or NYC Pride.
“Yesterday, very, very significant statements were made and it’s one of those times where I feel very proud to be part of this democracy,” said Megan White of Queens.
“I run this race every single year—I would not miss it—but the whole city feels a little bit different today,” she continued. “People are smiling at each other a little bit more. You feel it.”
“You look at people and they have smiles in their eyes; we’re all sharing the same agenda,” added Lucilla Rastelli, a Front Runners member for the last two years. “I see excitement, I see energy, I see a human spirit, a connection. It definitely made me run with a bigger smile.”
Of course, it was a race after all, and some runners, like Jason Kulig, unofficially the first man in a tutu to finish his five miles today, used the added spirit and emotion of the day to fuel a great performance.
“I had two gay roommates in college, my best friends, who have been fighting for this for a while. My last kick down the final 200 meters was just all that pent-up disappointment and anger that’s now been released,” he said.
Looking to continue the celebration past the finish line, Kulig added, “I think it’s going to be a great party, not just NYC Pride but across the U.S.”