Run Calgary and Calgary Pride have worked together to create the city’s first-ever Pride race, a virtual event called the Love is Love Mile. The race will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Calgary Pride, and it is open to anyone who wants to participate. During Pride week, which starts August 28 and last until September 6, participants can run, walk or wheel themselves one mile while simultaneously showing their support for the LBGTQ2+ community. Proceeds from race entries will be donated to Calgary Pride, and organizers have a fundraising goal of $8,000.
As James Demers, executive director of the Calgary Queer Arts Society, says, “Participation in sport is a vital and enriching part of many of our daily lives.” But he adds that in many cases, transgender and non-binary people are “often forced to stop playing the sports they love due to bias, violence and a lack of education about trans issues.” Run Calgary says the Love is Love Mile celebrates diversity and inclusion, and it provides a healthy and safe place (albeit a virtual one this year) for people who identify as LBGTQ2+ to race and be celebrated at the same time.
Kirsten Fleming, Run Calgary’s executive director, says the hope for the 30th anniversary of Calgary Pride was that the Love is Love Mile would be an in-person event. That, of course, isn’t feasible given the current global health crisis, so organizers had to shift to a virtual format, but there are plans to hold a physical event in 2021. Fleming says she and the Run Calgary team are happy to be working with Calgary Pride to make this event possible.
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As a celebration of Pride and to showcase their commitment to inclusion and diversity, @mrulife has its own rainbow crosswalk. This crosswalk opened in August 2018, making it the first permanent crosswalk of its kind in Calgary! MRU wants all students, faculty, staff and community members to know that #YouBelongHere. Check out the Pride crosswalk between the Faculty of Arts building and the Riddell Library and Learning Centre next time you're on campus! #ProudPartners #WeAreCalgaryPride #MountRoyalUniversity #MRU #MRULife #YYC #CalgaryPride
“We are learning about the lack of safe spaces in sport for the LBGTQ2+ community and are excited to work with Calgary Pride to provide an equitable opportunity for trans, non-binary and gender fluid participants to compete and join in,” she says. “Moreover, we hope to facilitate a culture of learning and allyship in the running community through this collaboration.”
The registration fee for the Love is Love Mile is $25 for curb-side kit pickup or $30 for athletes who want their kits mailed to them. With their registration, participants will each receive a race bib, a Love is Love enamel pin and a Calgary Pride Spotify playlist, as well as access to an online education session on trans and non-binary identities.
Organizers add that they recognize that the LBGTQ2+ community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and job loss. Because of this, anyone interested in signing up for the run who is lacking sufficient funds to pay the entry fee can contact Run Calgary for a bursary registration. To learn more about the race and to register, click here.