All-male relays get silly to stop domestic violence

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—D Mitchell tries on a pair of bumblebee-striped platform heels as he picks out his footwear for Saturday’s Men In Heels Race to raise money for Latimer House. Mitchell will be running in the race with the Hilltop team. The race will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will be run down Colorado Avenue.



• A high-heeled foot race is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Octoberfest, between Sixth and Seventh streets on Colorado Avenue. There is no charge to watch the event. It is being hosted by the Mesa County Domestic Violence Task Force and Latimer House.

Some local men are going to have to run pretty fast or step up the fundraising to claim the top prize for Saturday’s Men in Heels race: a pair of 6-inch, cherry-red stiletto heels.

While the event at Octoberfest in downtown Grand Junction is guaranteed to produce some giggles, the sight of macho men shoving their feet into heels and teetering about in a foot race is all for a good cause. Proceeds go to Latimer House, a shelter that provides services for victims of domestic violence.

Executive Director Jackie Sievers said the organization sought a new a way to raise awareness for domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the gathering also will be used to spread the message about reining in domestic abuse.

“The idea came from the domestic violence awareness campaign, ‘Walk a mile in her shoes,’ ” Sievers said, about relating the impact that abuse has on women.

The race has attracted men to get involved in the fundraising, and teams have formed that include police officers and members of the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office. The event also is an approachable way to talk about domestic violence, which can be a tricky subject to discuss.

“It’s not a men’s or a women’s issue, it’s a societal issue,” Sievers said.

For every dollar raised, teams can subtract one second off their time. Men in relay teams will have to run 40 feet before passing off a “baton” or in this case, a plush, purple purse.

The most difficult part of the event has been finding enough shoes in large sizes, Sievers said. Latimer House workers were busy Wednesday adding glitter, feathers and other bling to a variety of heels — one slender pair a flashy, fuchsia color and another with chunky heels and bumblebee stripes.

“I’m amazed at the response we’ve gotten,” Sievers said about teams that have signed up to run.


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