By Anthony Costello, April 2017 Issue.

It’s almost time for runners to take their marks at the 2017 Pride Run Phoenix starting line.

Produced and hosted by Phoenix Frontrunners, Inc., the annual run includes timed half-marathon, 10k and 5k races that recognize and celebrate equality, inclusion, diversity and acceptance for everyone.

As an official “10 Days of Pride” event, the run was recently recognized by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who proclaimed March 25 Pride Run Phoenix Day for the second year in a row.

“There’s plenty of other noteworthy events out there that deserve recognition,” said Dan Shabra, Phoenix Frontrunners member and Phoenix Pride Run race director. “It’s an honor that the city supports an organization for equality for everyone, so that’s another huge step for the city and community.”

Photo by Bill Gemmill.

For Shabra, the event isn’t just about celebrating pride personally, but celebrating it with fellow Phoenicians.

“To bring Pride Run to Phoenix is great because it brings people together in a healthy environment, [to] engage in a healthy activity … where we can celebrate the pride we have together in our community,” Shabra said.

In light of recent, divisive political policies and government regulations, Shabra believes Pride Run Phoenix has the potential to bring different communities together.

“The goal of Pride runners is to bring about equality for everyone, an obvious first goal, and [to] bring it about in a fun way – other than going to charity dinners and such,” Shabra said. “Bringing awareness to the issues at hand is our biggest strength.”

The run, which includes half-marathon, 10k and 5k courses, will take participants through uptown, midtown and downtown Phoenix.

“This year we’re slightly expanding upon last year’s event. The course is changing a little bit but otherwise remains the same,” he confirmed, adding that runners will circle around Spectrum Mall and continue on to the finish line near the Phoenix Art Museum.

The races will conclude with an award ceremony, which will include medal presentations to the top three finishers in division and age groups for each race.

Additionally, the Pride Run Phoenix Fitness Expo, which will include exhibitors, entertainment and a beer garden, will take place from 7 a.m. to noon at the intersection of east Coronado Road and north Central Avenue (next to the finish line for all races).

Ultimately, Shabra said he would like to see this event become continue to grow and draw new participants, both locally and from outside of Arizona.

“I’d like to see it evolve into an annual major event within Phoenix, or the state of Arizona as a whole and play a larger role in bringing in travelers from other states or countries,” he said. “We currently have participants and sponsors from 12 states and two countries so far, and I’d love to see that continue to grow.”

For more information on Phoenix Frontrunners, Inc., including details on the group’s recurring runs, visit phxfr.org.

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