Pride at Pacers FEATURING Race Director LIsa reeves
Lisa Reeves is the Pacers Running Race Director of the Pride 5K and also the badass in charge of all Pacers Events (technically her business card says Director of events and Pacers events Race Director). Lisa has been at Pacers for 15 years. We talked with Lisa about Pride, running, and how she launched DC’s best bakeshop during the pandemic.
How did you get into the race business?
This is a great story and I’ll share the “short” version.
I was working for a non-profit that partners with indigenous and other local communities to protect tropical rainforests and strengthen traditional culture; essentially empowering indigenous people in the Amazon with the skills to better protect themselves and the rainforest.
We wanted to produce a fundraiser (5K race) and I reached out to Pacers for guidance with timing and race production. At the time Kathy Dalby was working in the retail store and the events side company was in its early stages. Kathy tried to refer me to other local race management companies like Capital Running Company (who we ended up acquiring in 2012 – which is so funny when you look back on it, hindsight is always 20:20).
CRC just referred me back to Pacers. I was just determined to put on this race and relentless in my reaching out to Kathy, and I think she was like “good lord, let me just do this and be done with her”. Turned out I ended up making a very good impression with the event and it was also the beginning of a very special friendship. Kathy is one of my closest and best friends, a “ride-or-die” for life. When you find people like this in the world, you hang on tight.
I started volunteering for local Pacers races and eventually got to the point where I was ready to leave the non-profit world. I called Kathy and said “Player, I am getting ready to put in my notice and I am giving you first dibs…if you don’t hire me, someone else will”. I can still see myself sitting in this office at my desk, cold calling Kathy. She said, “Let me call my mom”. An hour later she called me back and said, “you’re hired”. The end.
This race was also a reconnection for another very good friend of mine in the LGBTQ community, (we had kind of lost touch for a few years) Edward Daniels, who was also in the early stages of building his DJ company, Scorpio Entertainment. Ever since that race we have stayed connected and are in touch on a regular basis.
What responsibility do you feel to the LGBTQIA+ running community in the area as a leader in running and a member of the community? What does For Every Run mean to you?
This is a loaded question! I love the running community and how far it has come as it relates to inclusivity for women, BIPOC, people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ That said, we still have a LOT of work and advancement to do. This industry is still dominated by older white men. My saying this is going to piss a few people off and I’m okay with that. I have been an activist for marginalized people my entire life and I am no stranger to speaking up and being seen.
In the last 7 -10 years we are enjoying more diversity and there are seats at the table for women, but where are we with LGBTQIA+ representation? Google the running industry and you’ll see the top hits are older white guys, and it was only a handful of years ago that we began to see female race directors breaking ground in the field. Now it’s time for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC. I would like to see a lot more of my LGBTQIA+ community having access to a seat at the table in this industry and the opportunity to contribute because we are out here doing the hard work and it is only through our mobilization and our voices that we are going to achieve the normalization of the participation of our LGBTQIA+ athletes in a safe and inclusive sport. I challenge the running industry to open the doors for us at conferences, to implement scoring platforms and registration systems that are inclusive and make space for us.
Pacers Running events are for everyone. I take it very personal and have a strong sense of responsibility to ensure that we live up to that value and walk the walk. As an LGBTQIA+ Race Director I do everything in my power to create a safe environment, and a community to connect with others who are like-minded with similar life experiences. I carry this out in a very authentic and unapologetic way. We welcome all people regardless of race, pace, gender, sexual orientation, or athletic ability.
"As an LGBTQIA+ Race Director I do everything in my power to create a safe environment, and a community to connect with others who are like-minded with similar life experiences."
Your wife is also very involved in causes for the LGBTQ+ community?
Absolutely! She is very committed to our community and is the co-lead for OUTstanding, which is an employee resource group in Arlington County that fosters an environment where every LGBTQIA+ person can be out and honest about who they are and thrive in the workplace.
As a member of the community yourself, what does it mean to work as the RD of the Pride Run 5K specifically?
2022 is the 10-year anniversary for the event and it is a celebration of our community as well as a kickoff to Pride Weekend in DMV area. There is an after party with beer from local breweries, awards, and a live DJ (my good friend Edward). For many people in the LGBTQIA+ community, this is the first running event they will participate.
You aren't "just" a Race director though. Tell us about your bakery, Scuttlebutt.
During the pandemic, in person running events were sidelined. The time away provided me an opportunity to revisit old hobbies and passions and to find purpose in the absence of races.
I reconnected with my love of baking during the down time and in the process started a cookie business with my wife. Scuttlebutt Bakeshop was born in January 2021. We make small batch bakes and attend the Del Ray Farmer’s Market every Saturday (when there aren’t any races). We have a collaboration cookie with Port City Brewery, and we donate 20% of all sales of our Pride Cookies to Casa Ruby.
Casa Ruby is the only LGBTQ+ bilingual and multicultural organization in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that provides social services and programs catering to the most vulnerable in the city and surrounding areas.
Their vision is to create a world where transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people pursue their dreams and achieve success in their lives without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence due to their sexual orientation and or gender identity/gender expression.