Oh, the Red Dress Run. This event brings truth to the phrase ‘New Orleans is a big-little city’. I felt like I ran into half of the people I’ve ever met in my entire life on Bourbon Street that day. A lot of conversations went a little like this: “Hey, there’s John Doe.” “Where?” “The guy in the red dress.” Good luck spotting John Doe in that crowd.
Have you ever wondered why this event started in the first place? It’s actually a funny story. In August of 1987, a young lady traveled in a red dress and heels to California to spend time with an old friend from high school. The friend introduced her to a running club that called themselves the “Hash House Harriers”. As the group prepared for their run, one member told the young lady (because of both her gender and attire) to “just wait in the truck”. This young lady decided she was not going to let a little discomfort get in the way of proving that she is tougher than she looks. She ran into history in that stylish red dress and heels. The next year, the Hash House Harriers decided to honor that young lady’s actions and held the very first “Red Dress Run”. They ensured to fly the young lady out for the event. Today, the “Hash House Harriers” is the largest running club in the world and the Red Dress Run was their accidental idea.
Since then, the Red Dress Run has spread worldwide as a lively charity event sponsored by the Hash House Harriers. Even though the event is held in various locations globally, New Orleans is the only city to claim to have “the biggest and best little Red Dress event in the world”. Plus, each time the race is held in New Orleans, all proceeds from the event go toward breast cancer research and other various charities!
The New Orleans Red Dress Run is usually on the second Saturday of August. The race starts at 12:30 p.m. and the drinking starts at 9 a.m. A red dress is absolutely required (that means you, men) for this 5k(ish) race. For more information about cost of registration or route, click here.
The Red Dress Run is a long day on Bourbon Street, but you will wake up the next morning with tons of random stories. For example, I rode my first mechanical bull and held my own.
We saw people set up their own badminton game in the street.
We got VIP access in one of the bars all night. That means plenty of space to dance freely and throw beads to people on the street.
I have so many more amazing (and not appropriate) memories from this day and night that I'm afraid I won't be sharing in this article. For many New Orleanians, this day is just about spending time with friends, letting loose, and rocking some red. If you want to meet some fun people and make amazing memories, you better not miss out on next year's Red Dress Run!