The Barr Trail Mountain Race (BTMR) is launching an initiative with several elite Colorado trail runners to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and empowerment in our sport. As part of the initiative, BTMR will highlight LGBTQ+ inclusion on social media and will have several giveaways to support the establishment of a local chapter of OUTRun in the Pikes Peak region.
In voicing support for LGBTQ+ trail runners and OUTRun, a group started by professional runners Addie Bracy and Corey Conner, the BTMR is hoping to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in the race itself and the sport of mountain and trail running more broadly.
The Barr Trail Mountain Race is a 12.6-mile trail run on the shoulder of Pikes Peak that takes runners up Barr Trail from the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs, Colorado, to Barr Camp, halfway up the mountain to 10,200 feet, before returning to the base of the mountain for the finish. The race has also been active in promoting gender equality, trail stewardship as well as sustainability by having runners carry reusable cups rather than by providing disposable ones at aid stations.
Local LGBTQ+ runner and BTMR participant John Školout, who is helping organize the initiative, spoke about why he supports these efforts:
“Growing up was often tough. Homophobia was rife at school, and it was routine to be greeted at supermarket exits by people asking you to sign various anti-LGBT petitions. It took years to come to grips with being gay, and even more years to grow fully comfortable with being open about it.
Along the way, running has been a big help in overcoming challenges, both as a healthy hobby and as a social outlet. While living in Boston, there were several LGBTQ+ running clubs, something which I have missed since moving back to Colorado Springs. While the local running community more broadly has been nothing but welcoming, it can sometimes still feel isolating.
I think groups like OUTRun can play a big role in helping LGBTQ+ runners connect with each other and live their best lives as part of a supportive community. LGBTQ+ visibility in itself can help people too – the efforts of others to be open and visible certainly helped me in my own struggles with self-acceptance. It definitely means a lot to me that races like BTMR are willing to voice their open support, as well.”
Professional Nike Trail sponsored trail runners and founders of OUTRun Addie Bracy and Corey Conner explain their motivation:
“Our intention in creating OUTrun was to provide a space for other LGBTQ+ individuals to experience that same encouraging, supportive and empowering environment. We hope to create a community of OUTrunners within the existing, and already amazing, running community.
Bracy won more prize money than the men’s winner at the 2017 BTMR. “I raced two years ago and it was the only race I’ve ever done that awarded the women more prize money than the men. Their way of fighting for gender equality which is INCREDIBLY cool.”
“With this initiative” committee member, Peter Maksimow states, ”BTMR hopes to continue the atmosphere of inclusion and diversity in our race and with the trail running community in general.”
More about Addie:
Addie grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and was a team captain on the track and field and cross country teams at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2012 to continue her running career and since then has won 3 USATF National Championships and represented Team USA internationally 9 times. In addition to running, Addie is a coach and is finishing her masters degree in Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Denver. She currently represents Nike and is passionate about promoting more inclusion and LGBTQ+ representation in the sport of distance running.
More about Corey:
Corey was born and raised in Massachusetts where she grew up playing a variety of sports. She began her competitive running career in college at the University of Maine where she was All-American and a 6x NCAA Nationals Qualifier in Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Track. Corey ran professionally as a post collegiate and represented Team USA several times, one of which is where she met her current partner, Addie. Recently, she signed with the Nike Trail Team and is pursuing her competitive drive as a professional trail runner. Corey is extremely passionate about being a voice for the LGBTQ+ community and seeks to provide others with a positive example of what being an openly gay athlete can look like.
More about John:
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, John has since come full circle after having spent time living in the UK, Egypt, Central Asia, Boston and elsewhere. Currently, when he isn’t busy with his two part-time jobs as a freelance environmental policy consultant and in retail, John is an avid hobby trail runner and dog lover. John helps run the weekly Gallop in the Garden 5k fun run/walk, where he loves encouraging locals and visitors alike to enjoy the beautiful Garden of the Gods park, and hopes to help start a Colorado Springs chapter of OUTRun. You can easily spot him and his dog Betty on the trails and at local running events thanks to his distinctive rainbow unicorn shoes from BTMR sponsor, Carson Footwear.