Dallas Front Runners Pride Run to Benefit AIDS Interfaith Network
On September 16, Dallas will join a growing number of cities that incorporate a fun run into their annual Pride events. The 5K Dallas Front Runners race is set to begin at Reverchon Park and travel the Katy Trail, a popular running spot in the city. Several hundred runners are expected to participate, with all proceeds to benefit the AIDS Interfaith Network, a local non-profit.
"It’s a healthy addition to Dallas Pride," said organizer Lin Wang of Front Runners Dallas, the hosting organization. "Like other cities including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, Dallas will now have a run as an official part of the festivities for the Pride weekend."
Wang expects between 150-200 runners, a strong turnout for this first year, especially when considering that Los Angeles has attracted more than 400 runners over the past three years. St. Louis Frontrunners former President Jennifer Kovar recalled her efforts in 2010 toward establishing a Pride run in that city.
"We wanted to establish a Pride activity that promoted healthy lifestyles," said Kovar. With the third event behind them, she is happy to report having been able to raise money in each of its years.
In Dallas, generating profit for this inaugural race is less certain. While the race benefits AIN, Wang said that unless the community comes from with increased donations, coming out on the positive side financially might have to wait until 2013.
"We’re close to moving over that line," Wang told EDGE. "We may not know for sure until after the race."
Kovar was more optimistic, saying that although it takes time to turn a profit, even when it benefits charity, she was sure that the Dallas Front Runners 5K Pride run would all work out in the end.
"It’s okay to be in the red your first year, because you’re providing a benefit to the community," said Kovar, who attributed the financial success in St. Louis to "running everything on a shoestring."
Wang is soliciting upwards of 30 volunteers to staff food and water and work the registration and package pickup stations. Those interested in helping can sign up on the website. The race will be held early in that day, as many volunteers at the race will move almost immediately to Robert E. Lee Park to work some of the other Pride events.
Most of the community reaction to the race has been positive. About a half dozen sponsors have come forward and others may help fill financial gaps before race day. But Wang did report that signs promoting the race had been removed from Katy Trail. Calls confirmed they were properly placed and not removed by maintenance officials.
Be it this year or next, the race will provide much-needed benefit to a community seeing the first rise in HIV rates in nearly a half-dozen years. AIN Director of Development Travis Gasper said the event is welcome support.
"Now is the time to refocus our community on prevention, and get some exercise doing it, which is something we can all be proud of," said Gasper.
More information on the event can be found at http://www.dallaspriderun.org. The cost for registration is $25. The Front Runner Dallas walking and running group meets Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. at the statue of Robert E. Lee in Lee Park.