June is New York City Gay Pride Month and June 26th - 27th was Gay Pride weekend; and what a weekend it was! Once again this year, I was asked by Gabriel "Gabby" Celis the Race Director of the Front Runners New York Pride Run to design the logo, advertising and t-shirt (and program, which I'll discuss in another post) for the Pride Run, a 5 mile race through scenic Central Park.
This year was just as crazy an experience as last, working with the Front Runners New York (FRNY) as I created a dozen different variations of the ad for newspapers, magazines, and the web and was at the whim of the crazy sponsors who couldn't make up their mind if they, in fact, wanted to be sponsors, or not.
Despite all aforementioned craziness, everything turned out great! I heard rave reviews from Front Runners, sponsors, and publishers, alike, on all the ads.
The real standout from the event was the race t-shirt. President of Front Runners, Rob Lennon, pushed the team to support getting a super-slick tech t-shirt for this year's race. It was a risky move, as lots of money can be lost on a high-ticket item by the club if the race isn't well attended, but it really paid off. I was able to create a really nice design to match the quality of the shirt and it was a success. Everyone loved the shirt and for the first time, they actually, completely, ran out of shirts before the race. I was told on numerous occasions racers offered to pay for an additional shirt, because they loved it so much.
Of course, people will always say nice things to the designer, who is also their friend, but the proof was on race day when an unprecedented number of runners showed up, ready to run, in the race t-shirt. It was amazing to see so many people wearing my shirt at the same time. I know this is going to be a shirt I'm going to see for years running through the park.
Imagery for the Pride Run is always difficult. There are a number of contributing factors that make the process a little extra special. The ad almost came as a "free pass" as the club decided to use an existing image I had created (see post on FRNY Annual Report 2010). The main difficulty is that the club is so darn welcoming! The ad needs to appeal to so many people -- fast, slow, women, men, butch, fem, fabulous, gay, straight, questioning, and everything in between!
The t-shirt is extra difficult, as well, as we want it to represent Front Runners, as well as not scare off anyone who might be a little skittish around the subject of sexuality (not to mention, the shirt was some pretty funky colors to start with -- who wears neon green??). With input from the FRNY Board, a perfect balance was achieved; a larger than life rainbow radiating over New York city and the park. It just so happens that the concentric semi-circles perfectly match the stripes of the adidas shirt. Could things work out more perfectly. I love it when these things just fall into place. With a little splash of FRNY orange here and there to make everything pop, viola!
As far as the race itself, things went pretty well for me, too. It was a hot and humid day for a race in the park with 73° weather and 71% humidity, but I managed to have a decent race. As always, I went out too fast (5:05 first mile) but then was able to (or had to) slow down to finish with a 5:20 average pace and a PR of 26:44. Of course I'm happy with any PR I can get, but I had set a goal of a 5:15 pace for the race. So, I guess I'll just have to try again next year.
In the overall results I placed 11th and finished as the first Front Runner, winning the Steve Gerben Award. You can find the full results on the New York Road Runners website, as well as some great pictures.
Overall, it was a great race and a great weekend. After the race (and before the race), I spent lots of time with Front Runners celebrating. Sunday was the Gay Pride March as well as more celebrating. It was truly a great weekend, and I'll remember it every time I see one of those great race t-shirts. :)
For more information on Front Runners New York, visit their website, and maybe I'll see you at a run!
Special thanks to Da Ping Luo, Ted Paszek, and NYRR for photographs.