Running in Skirts
Red Dress Run returns to raise money and eyebrows.
Every August it gets too hot to wear pants. So the New Orleans Hash House Harriers running club sponsors a run where every participant wears a dress – a red one to be exact.
The Red Dress Run is an annual event for locals and tourists. People spend the year searching through their mothers’ closets and combing thrift stores to find the perfect red dress. Ball gowns, prom dresses and hot little numbers will be worn with pride on Saturday, August 8.
It isn’t a traditional running event, but what in New Orleans is? Participants must be 21-years-of-age to participate because the “Hashers” bill themselves as a “drinking club with a running problem.” Part of a national organization, the New Orleans chapter takes pride in throwing “the biggest and best little Red Dress event in the world.”
Runners will start and end at Louis Armstrong Park where there will be live music, beer and a barbeque lunch for registered participants. Most runners stop at plenty of bars along the route through the French Quarter and Downtown before making their way back to the park. Anyone in the vicinity should be prepared to see hundreds of revelers in red dresses bringing revenue to those neighborhoods in the slowest month for tourism.
A growing, and unfortunate, trend is for people to participate without registering for the event. In typical Nola fashion, any reason to drink in a costume is a good one. So why should people register?
Beyond bringing people out in the heat, the Red Dress Run has a greater purpose. The New Orleans Hash House Harriers have raised and donated over $1 million to more than 100 local charities with the proceeds from registrations.
Area nonprofits can apply in a competitive process for grants of up to $5,000 and the Hashers award the checks at a reception in the French Quarter. At this separate event, the Harriers laud the efforts of area charities and help communicate the missions of the organizations. Some recent grantees include: Bike Easy, Funny Bones Improv, Lighthouse for the Blind in N.O., Project Lazarus and the Young Leadership Council. These grants have an especially meaningful impact on the smaller nonprofits and truly help them aid local residents.
Register and run!
Red Dress Run At-A-Glance:
- Saturday, August 8 at Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans
- Gathering begins at 9:00 am and Run starts at 12:30 pm
- Registration: $60 until July 31; $70 Aug 1-7; $80 Day-of
- Entertainment includes: Dash Rip Rock, The Breton Sound, and special performance by Jimmy Triay
- Paid parking lots and street parking available, though public transportation is encouraged.