Second annual event was postponed due to Harvey.
By Natalie Mink
One year ago, I accepted the challenge of participating in Houston’s first-ever Gay 10K. I ended up completing only the 5K, but it’s the effort that counts, right?
When I first heard about the Gay 10K, which celebrates and raises funds to support greater Houston’s LGBTQ community, I was ecstatic. But I was also apprehensive, due to my cerebral palsy and my general lack of knowledge about how to get ready for such an event.
After four months of working with a personal trainer, I finished the 2016 5K in an hour and 28 minutes. But this year, I feel I’m better prepared to conquer the streets around MacGregor Park on April 7. (Originally scheduled for Sept. 23, the Gay 10K was postponed due to Tropical Storm Harvey.)
First, though, I sat down with Gay 10K co-founder Stephanie Warren to talk about what’s new with her second annual event. “There has been an overwhelming increase in sign-ups since last year, so that’s exciting,” says Warren, a social worker who has a passion for helping others.
Warren adds that unlike in its first year, when teams of participants could choose to represent individual organizations, the Gay 10K is partnering with Legacy Community Health as its charity sponsor. “It will be a lot more unified now because people will be running for a cause.”
The Gay 10K also expanded its marketing, including a radio spot on KRBE 104.1 FM.
On the night before last year’s Gay 10K, I was hit with an overwhelming fear that I would lag behind and be laughed at. But when I got into the crowds and saw how many people were just out there having fun, it changed my perspective. I think that’s what participating in an event like the Gay 10K is supposed to do—bring people together who have common interests.
I saw participants wearing tutus and Speedos, but there was no judgment. The energy during the race was unlike anything I had ever experienced. My legs felt like Jell-O by the end, but meeting so many great people made it all worth it. It didn’t feel like a competition, and I’m betting this year’s event will be no different.
With a motto of “One Love, One Finish,” the Gay 10K strives to welcome all—and organizers are proving that no matter where you are in life, you can participate.
One of the competitors this year will be Lindsey Reimer, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on July 6. Reimer is now cancer-free after undergoing treatment, and the Gay 10K is supplying her with a wheelchair from Orion EMS, one of the event’s sponsors.
Warren said she learned about Reimer through her partner, Ashley Burnaman. Burnaman used to run competitively, but stopped when life got in the way. Then she met Reimer, who took an interest in running and has already completed three 5Ks.
Due to their conflicting schedules, the couple hasn’t always been able to participate in events together. But despite Reimer’s cancer diagnosis, they never gave up on the Gay 10K. “This year, it just so happened we were going to be able to run the Gay 10K, and Lindsey was so happy because that was the race she was really wanting to run,” Burnaman says. “To be honest, our community is known for dancing, drinking, and the nightlife. But for some of us, we’ve already moved past that, and to be able to be a part of something that is so much more than that is amazing.”
What: The Gay 10K
When: April 7, 2018
Where: MacGregor Park, 5225 Calhoun Road
Details/Registration: thegay10k.com or facebook.com/thegay10k.