June 7, 2013
Photo credits: Shawn Lo & Kristen Horgen (Tagg Magazine)
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by Brian Beary, DC Front Runners
The inaugural DC Front Runners Pride Run, a 5K run & walk event, was held at Historic Congressional Cemetery on the evening of June 7, 2013, the first of what is expected to be an annual, timed race and celebration of lgbt pride. A portion of the proceeds from the race is designated to fund the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship fund.
Congressional Cemetery in southeast Washington, DC, near RFK Stadium, was selected as the venue for the race Start and post-race Finish Festival because of its special connection to the gay rights movement. One of the leading gay rights campaigners, Leonard Matlovich, who graced the cover of Time Magazine in 1975 after outing himself as a gay soldier, was buried there in 1988. His grave marker, which reads "When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one", became the cornerstone of a ‘gay corner’, where prominent gay activists have purchased plots to keep Matlovich company.
In the week leading up to the Friday evening event, registrations for the run sold out at the 750-person capacity limit, even as tropical rainstorm Andrea headed up the coast toward the Washington, DC, area at breakneck speed. Despite fears of a washout, the rain showers diminished to the occasional drizzle and mostly abated for the centrepiece of the evening, which turned out to be a huge success, muddy puddles on the course aside!
The evening’s program began with introductory comments from DC Front Runners Pride Run Coordinator, Jerry Langan, and Congressional Cemetery’s President, Paul Williams, and included an inspiring rendition of the National Anthem, sung by soloist Matt Beck, of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. The race Start was announced by four guest drag queens, Patti Lovelace, Destiny B. Child, Monet Dupree and Ophelia Bottoms, and was punctuated in suitable fashion by the triggering of a pair of confetti cannons. The 5K race was a highly-competitive contest at the front of the pack, with eight runners crossing the finish line in under 18 minutes. Justin Arnold (#99) finished first place overall among males, in 17 minutes and 6 seconds. The top female was Elyse Braner (#291), finishing with a time of 20 minutes and 11 seconds.
DJ Edward Daniels of Scorpio Entertainment, who provided running commentary at the finish line, emceed the post-race Finish Festival and presented the race awards. Entertainment included a rollicking rendition of the aptly selected ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the drag queen quartet, and a debut performance of a creative, superhero-themed dance to Kelly Clarkson’s ‘People Like Us’ by the DC Front Runners’ Pride Parade Dance Troupe. Festival revellers enjoyed complimentary watermelon, bananas, mini-pretzels, and beer. As the daylight slowly – and somewhat eerily — faded in the cemetery, the crowd made their way, some home to rest while others continued celebrating at other events.
DC Front Runners wish to thank our sponsors for helping to make this fabulous event possible: Marriott.com/gaytravel, BodySmith Gym, AIDS Walk Washington, Alexander & Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton, District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), and Ultimo Lounge. Special thanks go to our partners: Pacers Events, Congressional Cemetery, JR’s Bar, Capital Pride, Scorpio Entertainment, and Team DC. The running club thoroughly enjoyed this experience and look forward to throwing an even more fabulous soiree in 2014. Stay tuned!
DC Front Runners is a running, walking and social club for gay people and friends in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Read more about DC Front Runners and Historic Congressional Cemetery
Pride Run 5K Race Course Map
FOX 5 news coverage of Pride Run 5K - Read article
Tony Anderson, Kristin Barnes, Ralph Bayrer, Dottie Bennett,
Andres Doernberg, Bucky Green, Gerald Langan,
Susanna McDonald, Adam Miramon (ix Chei Wellness LLC)