A Record-Breaking Celebration of Pride in Central Park

The sun shone and rainbow colors were everywhere at the 38th Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run. With more than 10,200 finishers, the race achieved its goal of setting a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for largest pride charity run, shattering the old mark of 6,000 runners.

The Pride Run was history-making in many ways, taking place as part of the weekend’s WorldPride celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and a half-century of LGBTQIA+ liberation. NYRR and FRNY raised this year’s race cap so that more runners would have the chance to be a part of this milestone event.

Two runners, Stacey Suggs and Nicole Schubert, were first-time finishers of the Pride Run. “I ran today because I support gay rights and this was an amazing affirmation and celebration,” said Suggs, adding with a laugh, “but it was so hot—maybe next year I’ll stick to the parade!” With a temperature of 78 degrees along with sunshine and high humidity, many runners chose to not push too hard and instead simply embrace celebratory atmosphere of the day.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be so many people and such a party!” said Schubert. “I started out fast, then decided to back off and just enjoy it. There was such joy everywhere today.”

Given the conditions, the winners’ times were impressive: Urgesa Kedir Figa in 25:20 for the men and Lindsey Scherf in 28:06 for the women.

Some runners at today’s race have a long history with the Pride Run and Front Runners New York. Marty King, 79, a longtime FRNY member, was the announcer at the first Pride Run, back in 1982.

“I was injured and couldn’t run,” he recalls, “but I wanted to be involved because I’d gone to a lot of the other running clubs and encouraged people to run. Back then, unfortunately, some people didn’t want an association with a race like this. It was the beginning of the AIDS crisis and there was fear and misunderstanding.

“But in the end, we got a good turnout—and look where we are today,” said King, smiling broadly and gesturing to the crowds filling the festival area.

Some traveled long distances to the starting line of the Pride Run. “I’m so happy to be here in New York and to be a part of this race and weekend,” said Budiaman Tang. Originally from Indonesia, he’s lived in Australia and was in Toronto for another pride run last weekend on his way to NYC for WorldPride. He ran carrying a large rainbow-colored flag and wearing a rainbow headband.

The rainbow, a symbol of LGBT pride and reflecting the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, is also a reminder of the ongoing fight for gay rights worldwide. NYRR’s Michael Rodgers, before sounding the race’s starting horn and giving a special shout-out to his husband, John Winters, reminded the crowd that homosexuality is still illegal in over 70 countries. “There’s still progress to be made,” he said.

If you finished the race today and want to use your miles to make a bigger impact and be a part of the global Pride movement, sign up for the free NYRR Virtual Pride Run 5K Powered by Strava and tag the Pride Run as a race—your fastest 5K from the in-person race will count toward your virtual result. If you didn’t run today’s Pride Run, you can still sign up for the Virtual Pride Run 5K and run your miles by midnight on Sunday, June 30.

Find upcoming NYRR races of all distances on our 2019 calendar and come run with us throughout the summer and fall!


Author: Gordon Bakoulis

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