Nashville’s fastest pub crawl set to benefit Grizzlies, Belcourt Theater

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It’s a 5k run. It’s a pub crawl. It’s philanthropy at its funniest.

The little red dress has taken over as this fall’s must-have fashion essential for recreational and competitive runners everywhere; or, at least that is what the style mavens from the Nashville Grizzlies rugby team and the Belcourt Theater advocate.

Hillsborough Village and the 12th Ave South neighborhood will be taken over on Saturday, Oct. 24, by a throng of red dress clad runners participating in the inaugural Red Dress Rampage to help raise money benefiting both the Grizzlies and the Belcourt.

“There are lots of them around the world actually, but we’re the Red Dress Rampage, not a red dress run," Schmidt said. "Rugby clubs are somewhat different personalities from runners.”

Red dress runs are becoming increasingly popular with events being held in cities all over the world. From New Orleans to Naples, Italy and Cairo, Egypt, red dress runs are typically hosted by social running clubs as a way to have fun, and in some cases, benefit a local charity.

Grizzly team member and event organizer Jim Schmidt said Nashville’s event will be a little different.

Schmidt said the Red Dress Rampage is basically a 5K run mixed with a pub crawl. The runners will begin around noon and follow a route taking them from the Belcourt Theater to PM, the 12 South Tap Room, Cha Chah, and finishing at Cabana around 5 p.m. At each location, there will be a 30 minute stop, and event sponsor Yazoo Beer will provide one beer to each registered runner before heading off to the next location on the route.

According to Schmidt, the idea started with the Grizzlies’ former coach Shannon Bustillos.

“She had seen one of the Midwestern rugby clubs use it as a fundraiser, and she said it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen. All runners are encouraged to wear red dresses, whether male or female, as a way to create a highly visible event–if not a dress, then at least something red; and no, you don’t have to wear a wig and heels, unless you want to.”

While the planning of the event began four months ago as an idea by some members of the Nashville GLBT community, Schmidt wants everyone to know the event is open to all.

“It is definitely open to anyone looking to have fun for the day," he said. "We’ve done outreach to all sorts of groups from neighborhood groups, to fraternities and sororities, and other sports clubs.”

Schmidt said the Grizzlies will give half of the proceeds to the Belcourt Theater, and use the other half to help fund the Grizzlies’ trip to the Mark Bingham Cup in Minneapolis in 2010.

“We wanted to make sure, while the event raises money for the Grizzlies, that we also gave back something to a worthy non-profit,” Schmidt said.

To participate, register online at grizzliesreddress.org or in person at the Belcourt Theater beginning at 11 a.m. the day of the event.