Strap on your stilettos, the Running of the Gays is back to support Art From Ashes

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Aaron Thackeray
For its fourth fun and foot-cramping year, the Running of the Gays returns with a three-block "marathon" open to anyone brave enough to don heels for the cause. A benefit for Art From Ashes, an organization that empowers youth through poetry workshops, the Running of the Gays is a collaboration with Rainbow Alley, in an effort to reach LGBTQ kids in particular.

Although Running of the Gays is usually a fall fundraiser, Art From Ashes decided to push the dress-up jaunt up to August, to closer align with Pride festivities that happen throughout the summer months. Regardless of orientation, anyone is invited to participate in the annual fun run, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Sunday, August 11 outside of Steuben's.

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Brandon Marshall
"It's not a race, it's just a run -- or a sashay. Whatever you're comfortable with," clarifies Anna-Liisa Breit, marathon coordinator for Art From Ashes.

Runners are asked to bring a pair of heels for the absurd trek down East 17th Avenue, and are encouraged to dress up in costumes. At the end of the marathon, participants can stop by the "Fix-A-Flat" station and pick up some flip-flops for the walk over to X Bar for the all-ages after-party with live poetry performed by teens involved with Art From Ashes. Host Shirley Delta Blow will be the emcee for the day, leading some pre-race stretching and handling the post-race entertainment. Professional and student masseuses will be offering foot rubs to weary runners free of charge, and prizes will be given out for creative attire and sassiest heels.

On top of being a great fundraiser for the programs and workshops, Running of the Gays also coincides with a decade-long run for Art From Ashes.

"For ten years we've been providing creative empowerment workshops to youth across the metro area, focusing on expression, connection and transformation," says Breit. The partnership with Rainbow Alley has allowed Art From Ashes to connect directly with LGBTQ youth, she notes, at a time in their lives when they need it most.

"The idea for this event was conceived four years ago by members of the LGBTQ community that were friends of Art From Ashes, and wanted to see our programs and workshops reaching specifically LGBTQ youth," says Breit. "It was right around that time of high publicity for queer youth, (aligning) in the same way as Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign. Rainbow Alley jumped on board with us, and the Running of the Gays as a fundraiser really funds the programming costs to get as many workshops as possible from Art From Ashes into Rainbow Alley on a weekly basis."

Interested participants can register online through the Art From Ashes website, or on location outside of race sponsor Steuben's the day of the race. Each runner is asked to make a $35 donation, which comes with a T-shirt and goodie bag. The race and after-party at X Bar are both all-ages events, and childcare will be provided for the brief duration of the run. Registration opens at 11 a.m.; race begins at noon. For more information or to donate directly, visit the Art From Ashes website or the Running of the Gays 2013 Facebook page.



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X Bar

629 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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