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Runner stories

Proud allies

Mikah Meyers running with open arms
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A t Brooks, we celebrate all who run and all who love by partnering with Front Runners, sponsoring LGBTQ+ athletes, and more.

Why Pride?

LGBTQ+ Pride is about more than a flag and parades; the annual celebration commemorates the Stonewall Riots, a watershed moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. On Saturday, June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. In that era, police raids were common at bars like the Stonewall; officers would force customers to line up and produce identification. If patrons had no ID or were wearing clothes police deemed opposite-gender clothes, they were arrested. The raid brought the community to a breaking point when interactions with police turned violent, and what followed was the rise of LGBTQ+ activism and the work toward LGBTQ+ equality.

Not all runners in the LGBTQ+ community feel that they have the freedom to be themselves in life and on the run. At Brooks, we believe running should be an inclusive sport and we want to support runners of all communities to be able to express themselves freely in life and on the run. We are excited to partner with Front Runners and sponsor runners like Mikah Meyer, an outdoor adventurer who raises awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.

Mikah Meyers, running with illustrations of rainbows in the corner

What is Front Runners?

Front Runners is an international network of LGBTQ+ running clubs that was inspired by Patricia Nell Warren’s “The Long Distance Runner,” which is one of the most celebrated gay love stories ever. The first Front Runners club was formed in San Francisco in 1974, and about 100 clubs now exist worldwide.

To help them continue giving and running in the name of love, we provided grants to the Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach Front Runners chapters. These clubs are invested in their communities. All chapters are using their grants to give back in one form or another, whether it’s through philanthropy, sponsoring a Pride Run / Walk, or expanding their outreach.

Mikah Meyers, running with illustrations of rainbows in the corner
Runner stretching on the beach
Runner tying his shoes

Because Brooks supports freedom of expression for the LGBTQ+ community / running community, we are partnering with Front Runners for the third year in a row to show our active and continued support.

Read more about Front Runners like Richard and Zander and what running proud means to them.

A run across Mississippi (and beyond) for awareness

With a love for adventure inspired by the loss of his road trip-loving father to cancer, runner Mikah Meyer uses travel and outdoor activity to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. In his “Across” series, Mikah runs across US states to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ causes like The Outside Safe Space — a rainbow tree symbol that communicates support for people to be their authentic selves in rural and outdoor spaces. He’s run across Minnesota and, most recently, Mississippi, and plans more runs in the US and internationally soon.

We caught up with Mikah to discuss his Across experience.

Runner in unicorn onsie jumping

Brooks Running: Why did you choose Mississippi for your most recent run?

Mikah Meyer: I wanted to take the Outside Safe Space to the places it’s needed most. My Instagram followers voted Mississippi as the most homophobic state in the US. One of them shared that he works for the Trevor Project Lifeline, which is an LGBTQ+ suicide hotline, and the majority of his calls come from Florida and Mississippi. That solidified it for me.

BR: What does this sponsorship mean to you?

MM: “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” When I heard those words from Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman a number of years ago, I realized that’s exactly what I was going through during my childhood. I grew up closeted and thinking gay men could only do certain stereotypical jobs, because that’s what I saw on TV and in the news.

However, I can now be the role model I always wished I had.

Since the greatest storytellers show, not tell, I’ve used that concept when it comes to my work as a world record-setting, openly gay adventurer. It’s the reason I’ve done, and continue to do, so many epic travels while highlighting my sexual orientation.

When I’m running and my legs hurt, I’m covered in sweat, or just need some motivation to get up a hill, I remind myself that it’s all part of inspiring LGBTQ+ people to feel like their options are limitless."

Mikah Meyer

Brooks’ sponsorship allows me to show — not just tell — that no matter who you are, you can be a runner.

BR: What do you hope your followers gain during this journey?

MM: A daily, positive dose of adventure! Plus, a window into part of America not traditionally on the top of “Best Places To Travel” lists. My three-year journey to all 419 National Park Service sites from 2016–2019 taught me that there are magical places all across America, and I’m excited to share those magical parts of Mississippi while taking people on a run through somewhere that’s probably very different than where they’re usually running.

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Mikah wearing a Run Proud t-shirt, and a unicorn onesie

Want to keep up with Mikah’s adventures? Follow him on Instagram.