Nearly 1,200 people came down to Victoria Park for Red Run on World AIDS Day . The event raised over £130,000 for local and international charities.
Runners came around 11 am for registration and the entertainment scheduled. They were entertained by DJs from Horse Meat Disco and drag girl band DENIM. The queens were doing warm up and stretches with crowd leading up to the race. Panels of the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display beside a pop-up AIDS Memorial.
Inside the memorial, people wrote the names of those who lost loved ones from AIDS. Starbucks, one of the event’s sponsors, gave out free coffee and tea on sit. Just before the run began, Madam Storm, inspirational coach, gave a motivational speech and affirmations to the runners. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, also came on stage to talk about the progress of AIDS awareness and prevention, and mentioned the LGBT community is what makes London a unique city in the world.
The mayor came off stage to cut ribbon – kicking off the start of the race. Participants had an option to run five K (two laps around the park) or 10K (five laps). It’s interesting to note people of all age and with disabilities came out to run. Medals were handed out to those who finished the course.
The money raised will go to charities such as Elton John AIDS Foundation, Africa Advocacy Foundation, The National Trust, Children’s HIV Association, and The Gay Men’s Health Charity. India Turner-Lees, Head of UK-wide Fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust, told Voice of London:
“This is our third time here at the Red Run. So it’s really nice chance to work with all of the other HIV charities across the UK and further across the field so we can come together for this day. I think there’s been a lot more awareness. We’re kinda getting to the point where our message around this year is zero HIV, zero HIV transmission and zero stigma. I think people are really starting to get that message now.”
Luke, one of the runners for the Terrence Higgins Trust, told Voice of London he lost his mother to AIDS and decided to run in her honour. Darrell, another participant, ran because his co-workers forced him to do the Red Run. It was his first time doing any races but he said to Voice of London: “I’m glad I did it in the end. It was enjoyable but my legs hurt.”
This year’s race was sponsored by Gilead, State Street Global Advisors and Interbank.The race is a part of STOPAIDS, a week-long World’s AIDS Day festival. The festival ran 45 events across the UK in London, Brighton, Cardiff, Sheffield, and Edinburgh. It’s a celebration of 30 years since the first World’s AIDS Day.
— STOPAIDS (@STOPAIDS) December 1, 2018
Words and Photos: Earyel Bowleg | Subbing: Maria Campuzano