According to their website, Proud to Run is "a 10K run and 5K run and walk that celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex/Inquiring, & Allies (LGBTQI&A) pride. We welcome everyone who wishes to join us in the celebration to show support, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression." The event has been part of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Pride Week activities since 1982, and they have raised more than $350,000 for local LGBT organizations. This year's beneficiaries were About Face Theatre, TPAN, and The Night Ministry.
The day of the race I woke up really early to get dressed and have a light breakfast before setting out. I made sure that I had everything I needed, including my bib number. I had gone to one of the early packet pick up days because I didn't want to have to deal with it the day of the race. I loved that early pick up was available over a period of several days, so it was fairly easy to get my packet in advance. My first race, last winter, only had a single day for early packet pick up, which made it difficult for me to get my packet before race day. Luckily, there was no problem like that here. Packet pick up was available throughout the week leading up to the race and was incredibly easy.
The race started at Montrose Harbor, so it was easy to get there by bus. Once I got off the bus, it was just a short walk to the event site and starting line. I basically just followed the other people who were dressed to run and/or wearing the event t-shirt.
|Getting to the event site was kind of like playing follow the leader.|
|Everyone is having fun...except that one guy.|
|I was jealous of all the great outfits/accessories.|
You can read about my awful run here. Although I was disappointed in myself, I wasn't disappointed with the actual event. The course was great and clearly marked, the volunteers were awesome and some of the best I've encountered at races, and everyone involved just seemed incredibly happy and supportive. I had several strangers slow down to ask if I was okay, and one lady even slowed down to walk with me for a bit and encouraged me to keep going.
|The starting line.|
Each of the event's beneficiaries also had a booth where you could find out more about them. My favorite booth was About Face Theatre.
There was also plenty of post race entertainment. A band, a dance group, a raffle...there were all sorts of things to keep the runners and volunteers entertained and happy.
|These guys were awesome and incredibly sassy!|
Everyone who finished got a finishers medal, and there were prizes awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers for both the 5k and the 10k. The top three in each age group were also announced and recognized.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I would definitely run the Proud to Run 5k or 10k again in the future. I'm hoping to be back next year to run the full 10k course.