Edinburgh runners still have Pride
Colourful run celebrates the ‘spirit of pride’, the value of community and the importance of mental health
Members of the Edinburgh Frontrunners – joined by some of their fellow Frontrunners from Dundee – celebrated Pride with a 5k run on Saturday.
runABC Scotland online spoke to EFR’s communications officer, Martin, about the event. He told us that with Edinburgh Pride cancelled for a second year in a row, the LGBTQIA+ friendly club desperately wanted to ‘keep the spirit of pride going’. They decided to have their own ‘mini-Parade’ in the form of Saturday’s Pride Run, to ‘bring the spirit of Pride to the community’.
As Martin explains, ‘The run shows that we are still dedicated to celebrating all our victories and achievements as a community – while still acknowledging that there is a long way to go, especially in sport, where many still feel discriminated against and unwelcome.’
‘We owe a great deal to all those who came before us. But’s it’s also time to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go in sport and elsewhere.’
True to their spirt of inclusivity and offering a supportive, non-judgemental running environment, EFR advertised the run to the wider Edinburgh community, making it very clear that the event would be very welcoming and accommodating to all.
While Pride is first and foremost about acknowledging the great debt owed to their predecessors, Martin told us that there was another, less joyful reason behind Saturday’s run.
With members of the LGBTIQ+ community known to be more likely to experience mental health issues than the general population, the COVID situation has not made the situation better. Saturday’s Pride Run was organised to help ‘lighten the mood’ after a difficult year.
Martin told us, ‘We have struggled, both as a club and as individual members, over the past 18 months of the pandemic. A lot of our members have reported back to us that they have faced mental health issues.’
‘While we hope our Pride run gave people the chance to commemorate the history and spirit of pride, we also hope it also emphasised that the community has been through a lot and helped to keep everyone’s mental health up as much as possible by making people feel equal and safe.’
For EFR, starting club sessions as soon as restrictions allowed was ‘absolutely necessary’ for the wellbeing of many of their members. As with other clubs, the post-lockdown restart has not yet brought about ‘normal’ club life: some members returned to run at the first opportunity, while many ‘long standing members’ and others remain cautious and have yet to return.
But despite the challenges they’ve faced, Martin is optimistic about the future. ‘The whole community has suffered a lot. But pandemic or not, we are still a community and will always fight for the community.’
Image: Edinburgh Frontrunners