HRC Blog

The Big Gay Race in Minnesota

This post comes from HRC Minnesota Political Consultant Leah Solo.

At 6:10 a.m. on Saturday morning, I walked to the park outside of Wilde Roast Café and scanned the gathering crowd for Michelle Frey, co-founder of the Big Gay Race and professional runner for Saucony. I quickly found her, as she had a little light attached to her jacket, a useful addition to her wardrobe since the sun was not even close to rising. It was my job to shadow her today as we executed the plan that had been months in the making.  

“Michelle!” I exclaimed and ran up to her. As was planned, registration tents were going up, so she and I moved to unloading boxes of t-shirts. We continued for the next 2 hours to assist and direct the setup of the race village and prepare for the thousands of people that were participating in the First Annual Big Gay Race.

The Big Gay Race was an idea that Michelle, and her husband Jacob Frey, started developing in January of 2011. “It seemed like a great way to raise awareness and raise money for something we feel is very important” said Michelle.

When Minnesotans United for All Families was launched as the coalition to defeat the anti-marriage amendment, Michelle and Jacob decided the event needed to benefit the campaign.  With months of work, they had gotten the permits, set up the website and gotten over 1100 people to pre-register for the race.

At 9:20am, after 2 quick speeches and singing the National Anthem, the horn sounded and the race began. About 20 minutes later, the first finishers started crossing the finishing line of the 5K. Couples ran over the finish line holding hands. Kids ran along with their parents. A few infants and toddlers in strollers squealed with delight at the applause as they crossed the finishing line.

Donations are still being counted, but the event raised over $15,000 for Minnesotans United, and brought thousands of new supporters out for the campaign.

By noon, the tents were packed up, and the park was clean.  The remaining volunteers did a quick “Go 2012!” cheer and then we were on our way home, energized and delighted.

That evening, I went for a little run myself and thought about all the fantastic supporters and possibility for the campaign. With a little less than 13 months to go until Election Day, we are running more of a marathon than a 5K. That being said, with runners like we have in Minnesota, we can certainly go the distance!

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