After a couple of false starts, things are finally running smoothly for the DC Front Runners, D.C.'S LGBT running club, as it prepares to host its inaugural Pride Run on Friday, June 7.
''We've never done this before,'' says Brian Beary, co-director of the Pride Run. ''It's the first time we've done anything like this in the club's history.''
Beary notes that other cities' running clubs have had festivities to kick off Pride season, but the Front Runners initially had trouble locating a site for their run. With the help of Paul Williams, the president of Congressional Cemetery, they finally settled on a venue.
''We wanted to do a twilight race on the evening of Pride, and we're marketing it as 'Get your Pride weekend off to a flying start,''' says Beary.
The cemetery is the perfect place to hold the 5-kilometer run, he adds, because of some of the people interred in the cemetery, such as Leonard Matlovich, J. Edgar Hoover and, once his estate is fully settled, Frank Kameny. Beary says Williams will make special mention of the cemetery's ''gay section'' in a welcome address before the race.
The race will begin promptly at 7 p.m., following a rendition of the national anthem by a soloist from the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington and race instructions by the after-party host, drag queen Patti Lovelace. Williams will also be offering a 30-minute tour of the cemetery.
Results for the race will be provided by Pacers Running Store, with Pacers representatives managing the logistics and keeping time for the competitors. The Front Runners have also secured several sponsors, including its premier corporate sponsor Marriott Hotels.
Once the race is finished, the after-party will feature awards to the top finishers, as well as raffles, prizes, music and drag performances. Every registrant will also be provided two free beers, courtesy of JR.'s.
''We want this to be a staple event of Pride,'' Beary says of plans already in the works for next year's run. ''We want to make this as well known as some of the other [Pride] events in the area.''
The Front Runners Capital Pride Run will be held on Friday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at Congressional Cemetery. The race has a maximum capacity of 700. Participants should register online. For more information, visit DC Front Runners online at dcfrontrunners.org.