Dress for Success
SYDNEY: Greater goals, higher hems and a larger turnout – this year’s Little Black Dress Run is shaping up to be the biggest yet. Bernie Burke reports.
The Sydney Frontrunners is a group for queers with a penchant for running. You’ve probably seen them around town or at the park in their distinctive red running gear. But once a year, the group swap their sweat shorts for tiny black frocks, all in the name of charity for the Little Black Dress Run.
The Little Black Dress (LBD) Run returns for the 2013 Mardi Gras Festival on Saturday, February 23, at Centennial Park. And this time the Frontrunners are expecting their biggest turnout yet – close to 500 people.
“The first Little Black Dress Run only had about 50 people,” Sydney Frontrunners spokesperson Will Parry tells SX. “Every year the number of LBD runners and Frontrunners increases.”
That first Little Black Dress Run was 13 years ago. It started after a Frontrunner member visited San Francisco, participated in a similar event, and brought the idea home.
The charity fun run will raise money for the volunteer-run project, Camp Goodtime.
A program by the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Camp Goodtime runs a yearly camp for kids living with HIV/AIDS and their families, providing invaluable emotional and medical support. For many children affected by HIV/AIDS, this is the only opportunity to interact with others in the same situation, as families come from all over Australia.
The camp is run entirely on donations and has never received government support.
The Sydney Frontrunners raised $40,000 last year – in 2013, they are aiming for $100,000.
Olympic silver medallist Ji Wallace will be among those helping raise funds for Camp Goodtime and awareness of HIV. It’s an issue close to Wallace’s heart, having been diagnosed with HIV in 2011. More recently, Wallace has been volunteering with Camp Goodtime, seeing first-hand the amazing impact it has on the lives of participants.
“The Little Black Dress Run is a fun event for a really amazing cause,” Wallace says. “HIV can cloud so many people’s abilities to dream. It shouldn’t – and I want to inspire the kids at Camp Goodtime to live the life they want, on their own terms.
“I also want to help Sydney Frontrunners raise at least $100,000 for Camp Goodtime!”
Parry hopes that Wallace’s involvement will inspire others to take up the challenge.
“Having someone so inspirational being publicly associated with the Little Black Dress Run really brings home how important it is for Camp Goodtime to help and support kids who are living with HIV,” he says.
“You can bring your kids, your dogs – anything goes. One of the great things about the run is that it’s a real community event.”
[Image] Participants at Little Black Dress Run. Photo: Jason Nichol/SX
The Little Black Dress Run is on Saturday, February 23, 9am-2pm, Centennial Park, corner Oxford Street and Moore Park Road, Paddington. For more information and registration details, visit www.facebook.com/littleblackdressrun.