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Free hugs and raising money for a good cause: Atlanta Pride Run reaches new heights this year

2,000 people signed up for the event highlighting HIV awareness and fundraising.

ATLANTA — Brianna Bryant is trying something new.

“It felt good. There were lots of cute dogs over here and everybody was so happy," said Bryant.

Sunday marked the teen’s first time taking part in the Atlanta Pride Run, held at Piedmont Park.

She said the atmosphere surrounding the charity 5K was positive.

Since 1991, the Atlanta Pride Run has served to bridge the gap of awareness while also raising money for people impacted by HIV.

This year’s group of runners included Kim Conery who said, besides supporting her child, another big reason for taking part is to be a helping hand for others as they get the care they need.

“Even when you have healthcare it can be tough because what if you have a huge deductible you can’t meet? But Lord help you if you don’t have insurance," said Conery.

Organizers told 11Alive 2,000 people took part in this year’s event, which is double the amount of last year.

Many of them getting a few free hugs courtesy of the Georgia chapter of Free Mom Hugs.

Kati Tait is the head hugger. She said her group embraced about 1,000 people on Sunday.

“I gain a sense of love and unity when I do it. It's an amazing feeling to have, so giving it is even more rewarding," said Tait.

Giving comfort one step and one hug at a time.

Besides raising money for people living with HIV the race also serves as a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race which takes place on the Fourth of July.

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