This will be a concise recap as I had no recollection of signing up for the race until Thursday evening.
The Front Runners Pride Run is, really, five miles of a rainbow. Everyone is dressed to the nines in all shades of colors. Whether you’re gay, straight, bi-sexual, or transgender, the pride run is about celebrating equality for all.
The start line was on the East side of the park at 102nd Street. For this reason, I took the subway up to 86th Street and ran to the start to loosen up my legs. When I reached my corral, I noticed I was already glistening with sweat beads. Lovely. It was only going to get hotter. My tactic was simply to run the race—I had tremendous focus on Sunday’s 5K and didn’t want to lose sight of that.
As I looked around my corral, I saw several members of the Front Runners team, galavanting and having a grand time. In my opinion, this is how all races should be. Sometimes (and I know I’m guilty of it), we seem to forget that we’re running races simply for the love of running.
I moseyed up to the front of my corral to see if His Lordship was hanging out in his. Sure enough, there he was, decked out in blue (and five of our other friends and myself completed the rainbow). We chatted a bit, and I told him my tactic (not racing). He then professed that he was going to “take it easy”, whatever that means.
As I went back to my corral I noticed that everyone was standing on one side—in the shade. Ah, yes, it was noticeably warmer than when I first arrived. I gathered with everyone in the shade and waited for that oh so luminous voice of Peter Chacha to give the course directions.
“You will proceed across the start mat and up through Harlem Hill… Sorry.”
Everyone chuckled. Truth be told, I don’t mind Harlem Hill when running in a counterclockwise direction. It may be a bit longer of an incline, but at least it’s only one hill versus two.
The gun went off and we stood for a bit. The crowds for this race were quite large, and we appeared to be bottlenecking in the first 100 meters. I set into a pace that I was comfortable with, and continued to tell myself that I would go balls out in the 5K, not at this race. It was the first time in a race where I actually took it easy—maintain a decent tempo pace, get water when needed, and don’t walk.
The first two miles came and went, and before long we were traveling through the West Side rollers. It was here I noticed that the faster people in front of me were slowing down, perhaps the heat starting to wear on them. Turning the corner on 72nd street was more difficult than expected—the sun was near blinding and I was oh so thankful for my visor. I was also very happy to know that we were halfway through the race, and that I would see Maura soon cheering on Cat Hill.
I shouted as soon as I saw her. She was like a shining ray of sunshine in the heat and sweat. Once I saw her, it was an easy mile and a half to the finish. I told myself to chill out, just cruise at a comfortable speed. After all, so many people were out having a great time, why not enjoy yourself?
So, I did. I thought of how awesome that at this time last year, we legalized same-sex marriage in the state of New York. I thought of how happy everyone was at the start of the race, and regardless of some of those I saw going off the course to heave, everyone would no doubt finish happy. I also thought of popsicles at the finish. Ah… popsicles.
I saw the Finish donned with giant rainbow flags. I came through at 39:56, and made a bee line for my glorious popsicle. And just as I suspected, I saw so many smiles at the Finish.
I walked back to Engineer’s Gate to meet His Lordship (who finished 45th overall…what was that about taking it easy??) and five of my other running compadres for a photo op. We dressed in colors of the rainbow to celebrate the day!
Such fun at the races—I’ll be back next year!