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NYC Pride Runs
After attending the Gay Pride run in San Francisco in July 1981, FRNY President Steve Gerben was “determined that somehow we were going to put on our own race next year” (p. 9). Working with New York Road Runner Club, the date was set for Gay Pride weekend on Saturday, June 26, 1982. However, they still had to get the Parks department onboard. Initially, the Parks Department pushed back because they were trying to limit the wear and tear on Central Park, and were pushing people to use parks in the other boroughs. Gerben continued to put pressure on the Parks Department, and was called into a meeting by Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis. In the meeting, Gerben explained that the run would be open to all people (not just gay people), and that having the run in Central Park was essential for all the out-of-town guests coming in for Pride Weekend. Five days after the meeting, Gerben received a call: the Pride Run would be held in Central Park!
At 9:30am, the runners were called to the starting line. A statement written by Patricia Neil Warren (author of The Front Runner) was read. The statement made connections to the struggle for LGBT rights: “All of us here today have been running all our lives, straining every fiber, racing to stay ahead of institutions and people in the world who seek to enslave the human mind and heart ... who seek to make us all live in fear, so that they can control our lives and our efforts.” After the statement was read, the horn was sounded and the 440 runners were off!
Since that first run in 1982, FRNY has continued to host a run on the Saturday of Pride weekend. In the early years, people were hesitant to participate (and even wear the t-shirt) out of fear of exposing their sexual identity. Today, the run is an integral part of the city's race line-up and people of all identities take part. Below you will find select photos, t-shirt designs, and digitized documents from over 30 years of Pride Run history.
Pride Run Booklets:
Want to see more? See all items tagged with "Pride Run" and "Pride March."
Also, view Pride Run and March content by decade:
Steve Gerben (2011), Front Runners NY – The Early History, available at: http://archives.frny.org/items/show/3313.
Curated by Anthony Cocciolo, 2015.