Pride Center Gears Up for Rainbow 5K: Annual event brings together activism and exercise

Some of the runners in the Rainbow 5k in 2016. Photo Credit: Facebook.

Are you fighting to find the motivation that will allow you to stick to your New Year’s resolution of working out more? Do you support the LGBT community? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both of those questions, there is an event this weekend right in your own backyard that will provide you a two-birds-one-stone win-win scenario. 

Related: How to do a 5K Without Being a Runner

This Sunday, Jan. 22, The Pride Center’s second-annual Rainbow 5K Run/Walk will take place to raise funds to help support the vital services and programs that the Pride Center at Equality Park has been providing for the last 23 years. In that time the Pride Center has provided an all-inclusive place that not only welcomes but celebrates all members of the LGBT community, as well as their family and friends.

“We wanted to run in the cooler season and get a start on the 2017 5K season. We also wanted to appeal to the ‘New Year’s Resolution’ crowd,” said Roger Roa, Director of Development at The Pride Center. “This year we partnered with Fort Lauderdale Front Runners in their “Couch to 5K” initiative. That program was very successful in the participation of new runners.”

The 3.1 miles Rainbow race route will take runners through the heart of the City of Wilton Manors, along Wilton Drive to Andrews Avenue, zig-zagging through the city’s beautiful neighborhoods, then back up to Wilton Drive. The events kick off at 6 a.m. with race registration and on-site packet pickup, and conclude with a free post-race event expo and entertainment celebration that will include an award ceremony, local businesses, and vendors showcasing their products, refreshments, and lots of fun for the entire family. Runners and their supporters are encouraged to wear their brightest gear for the race. 

The Rainbow 5K race will be professionally timed by Split Second Timing, with overall male and female winners, as well as age-based category winners, receiving post-race honors. Even those who are less motivated by competition, and more-so by the cause and exercise will receive a medal commemorating their participation in the second annual Rainbow 5K. 

Among the many services the Pride Center provides to the LGBT community are HIV tests, disease prevention, education, and post-results counseling. Last year alone, 35,000 people visited the Pride Center, many of which participated in one of the 65 regularly meeting groups the center holds each month. 

According to Roa, the Pride Center decision to stage a race came about organically, as many of the staff members themselves are active in such events. 

“The Pride Center wanted to add to its health and wellness programming.” Roa told SFGN.

“There are several of us who have been competing in cycling, running and triathlons over the past several years. Exercise has become an important part of our lives and we wanted to bring attention to health and fitness.”

The Pride Center hopes to raise funds through events such as the Rainbow 5K that will keep the center on the frontlines in regards to helping fight the spread of HIV in the LGBT community, as well as providing support to those in the community that are struggling and in need of guidance, for a variety of reasons. 

If relaxing under a tent and supporting the runners sounds like more of your thing, The Pride Center is still accepting new sponsors and volunteers. According to Roa, there are a variety of ways to get involved, even at the last second. 

Visit to sponsor or participate. You may also contact Roger Roa, Director of Development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 954-463-9005.

Registration and admission for the Rainbow 5K/3.1-mile race is $30 for adults who sign-up online prior to the day of the race. The first 400 participants to register for the race will receive a Pride Center Rainbow 5K Run t-shirt and a medal. Parking for the Rainbow 5K will be available on the day of the event at both Hagen Park and at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. To participate as a volunteer with The Pride Center at the Rainbow 5K, or any other event or service, visit 

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