12 U.S. LGBTQ+ Runners You Should Know

12 U.S. LGBTQ+ Runners You Should Know - Virtual Fitness Challenge Blog | Run The Edge

Happy Pride Month! Pride Month is a time to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community and honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots, so we hope you will join us this month and every month. This month, we want to highlight some LGBTQ+ runners we think you should know! At Run The Edge, our mission statement is "Everyone Included. Everyone Challenged. Everyone Successful." We believe that fitness should include everyone, and we work to create a welcoming and safe community for all. If you want us to add someone to this list, let us know! Below are 12 professional runners that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and are trying to make running, and the outdoors, more inclusive and accessible: 

  1. Matt Llano
  2. Ryan Montgomery
  3. Sha’Carri Richardson
  4. Nikki Hiltz
  5. Chris Mosier
  6. Coree Woltering
  7. Mikey Mitchell
  8. Erica Bougard
  9. Addie Bracy
  10. Jordan McMeans
  11. CeCé Telfer
  12. Andraya Yearwood

Matt Llano (he/him)

Matt Llano is a half-marathon and marathon runner who is the 17th fastest American half-marathoner of all time, with a time of 1:01:47. In 2013, he was one of the first professional runners to come out and speak openly about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. In the process, he actually inspired fellow professional athlete, Addie Bracy, to also come out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community in 2016. Fun fact, our COO Briana has had the privilege of being coached by Matt in the past and working with him on projects when he ran for the professional running group NAZ Elite. In her words, “Matt is one of the most inspiring people I know.”

Ryan Montgomery (he/him)

Ryan Montgomery is a pro ultra trail runner, trying to make the outdoors more inclusive to all. He ran his first marathon at age 15, was the youngest runner at age 24 at the Badwater 135 in 2018, placed 2nd at the Tahoe 200 and set the unsupported Fastest Known Time on the Wonderland Trail in 2020, and placed 2nd at the Javelina Jundra 100 in 2021. Currently, Ryan is a founding member of The Outdoorist Oath, a non-profit aimed at educating and uniting the outdoor community, and he is hosting an LGBTQ+ trail running retreat in October 2022

Sha’Carri Richardson (she/her)

Sha’Carri Richardson is a sprinter who competes in the 100 and 200m races. In 2019, she set a personal record of 10.72 seconds in the 100m, making her the sixth fastest woman of all time and the fourth fastest in America. On June 13, 2022, she came in 1st place in the 200m race in the NYC Grand Prix track meet with a time of 22.38 seconds. After being suspended before the Tokyo Olympics, she’s coming back fast and in style, sporting bright red fishnets, and advocating for being yourself and wearing what makes you feel good.

Nikki Hiltz (they/them)

Nikki Hiltz became a professional mid-distance runner in 2018 after signing a contract with Adidas, and they won their first national title in 2019 at the USATF Road Mile Championships. As an out transgender non-binary individual, they use their platform to advocate for the trans community. They started the Pride5k in 2020, a race where people “come together and run a 5k to show LGBTQ+ young people that they are seen, that they belong, and that they have visible allies everywhere who love and accept them.” The first two years, the 5k was virtual, but this year, there is an in-person option in Flagstaff, AZ. The Pride 5k raises money for The Trevor Project, an organization providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ+ youth.

Chris Mosier (he/him)

Chris Mosier is an all-American duathlete and 6-time member of Team USA. In 2015, he was the first known transgender man to represent the US in an international competition, as well as the first transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympic trials as the gender they identify with. In 2013, Chris founded transathlete.com, a “resource for students, athletes, coaches, and administrators to find information about trans inclusion in athletics at various levels of play.”

Coree Woltering (he/him)

Coree Woltering is an ultra-runner that initially entered the field as a sprinter, running the 400m and 800m in middle school through college. He was hooked on ultra-running when he paced a friend on the Leadville 100 in 2014 and was hooked. Since then, he’s placed 3rd in The Dunes 100 in 2017, 4th in the Superior 100 Mile in 2018, 2nd in the American River 50M and Quicksilver 50k in 2018, and 1st in the Superior Spring 50k in 2019. When the pandemic hit and many of his races were canceled in 2020, he didn’t want to let his training go to waste, so he took on the challenge of completing the Ice Age Trail in record time, running the 1,147 miles in 21 days, 13 hours, 35 minutes. One of his goals with his career and this challenge is to bring more people of color and people from the LGBTQ+ community into the sport, hoping his representation and visibility within the sport can encourage other people in the community to get involved.

Mikey Mitchell (he/him)

Mikey Mitchell is an ultra-runner that has a unique way of doing things. You may have seen him on Tik-Tok (or IRL) at the top of a mountain covered in glitter, holding a pride flag, or even shotgunning a beer. He’s not afraid to be himself in the outdoors and advocates that the outdoors is for everyone. His first ultra run was the Leadville, CO 100 in 2021 and his second was the Quad Rock 50-miler in Fort Collins, CO, where he came in third place. He just ran his first marathon, the Steamboat Marathon, on June 4th and came in first place.

Erica Bougard (she/her)

Erica Bougard is a track and field athlete from Missouri and is an active advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2018 and 2019, she won US national titles in the heptathlon. At the World Championships in 2019, she sported rainbows on her shoes in Qatar, where homosexuality is criminalized, showing how powerful representation in sports can be.

Addie Bracy (she/her)

Addie Bracy transitioned to ultra trail running in 2016 after a long career on the track and the road and won her first trail race at the US Mountain Running Championships in 2016. She ran her first 50k in 2017, and quickly increased her distances to 50 and 100 milers by 2018. In 2021, she was named the number 10 ultra runner of the year by Ultra Running Mag. Currently, she is co-hosting the Out Trails LGBTQ+ Running Retreat in October 2022 with Ryan Montgomery.

Jordan McMeans (he/him)

Jordan McMeans is a distance runner that is also very active on Tik-Tok. He is currently in Columbia Law School, but that doesn’t stop him from being a competitive marathon runner. At the end of March, 2022, he came in 5th at the Philly Love Run Half Marathon, and in October 2022, came in 12th place at the Hartford Marathon. His personal best marathon time is 2:29. Besides running and law school, Jordan uses his social media platforms to speak out about social justice issues.

CeCé Telfer (she/her)

CeCé Telfer became the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA title when she came in first in the women’s 400m hurdles. In 2020, CeCé initially qualified for the Olympic trials in June but was deemed ineligible due to one of the various pieces of legislation targeting transgender women in sports. Despite this ruling, she continues to train for the 2022 World Championships and 2024 Summer Olympics, supported by teammates and competitors alike. 

Andraya Yearwood (she/her)

Andraya Yearwood started running in seventh grade and became serious about it in high school, where she won first place in the 100m and 200m dashes in 2017. Andraya is one of three transgender athletes that the Hulu documentary, Changing The Game, focuses on, as they have to navigate athletic competition at the same time as advocating for their right to be there. Andraya and CeCé are two of many transgender athletes fighting for their right to participate in their sport.

These runners are making waves in their fields, from advocating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, creating safe spaces for the community, showing up as themselves, and continuing to train and fight amid legislation trying to knock them down. Pride Month is a time to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community, but it is also a time to remember how much further we still need to go for equality. In 2021, over 250 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced into state legislatures, with at least 17 becoming laws. Representation matters, serving as a reminder, and an invitation, that running (and sports and the outdoors) is for everyone.

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