5 ways to prep for this weekend’s Red Dress Run _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- The Browncoat Brass play the national anthem for the Red Dress Run 2014 through the French Quarter in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. The annual event put on by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers (NOH3) raises the most money for local charities of the group's running events.

Red dresses on men and women alike will fill the French Quarter on Saturday for the 21st annual Red Dress Run. This year is on pace to be bigger than ever with more than 7,000 registrants. Other than stretching your legs for the daylong marathon, here are some other things to add to your to-do list.

1. Find a dress

Scour the racks of local thrift and resale shops for the perfect red dress, frock or ensemble. Many shops like Buffalo Exchange, 3312 Magazine St., put out red dress racks for the event. Bill Healy, of the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, recommends a loose-fitted cotton dress to beat the heat, but any style will do. Be ready to duke it out with other men and women who are on the same mission.

2. Plan your outfit

It’s called the Red Dress Run, but that doesn’t mean that nothing else matters. Accessorize your red with some jewelry, the perfect shades or a shady hat. Don’t forget comfortable shoes to run in or possibly the most important accessory: sunscreen.

3. Rally your friends

No one should wear a red dress alone. Grab your group and get ready to go. You might already be matching in your red, but get creative. Dress as a roving gang of red Solo cups, Taco Bell sauce packets or Santa Clauses.

4. Plan transportation

Parking can be a pain, but you can find $15 parking at Mahalia Jackson Theater, next to Armstrong Park where the race begins. If you’d rather indulge in the unlimited beer, you can call your favorite cab or Uber driver or hop on the bus. A Jazzy Pass allows unlimited rides for $3 a day. Norta.com has a trip planner to map out your route for you.

5. Register

Anyone can hang out downtown in a red dress, but actually registering for the run means that you can access unlimited beer, music and barbecue at the pre-party, attend the exclusive House of Blues post-party and support more than 100 local charities. Online registration has ended, but runners can register at the expo or on the day of the event. The expo is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Fairgrounds Racetrack grandstand building at 1751 Gentilly Blvd. More information is at neworleanshash.com/rdrsignup.asp.

— Emma Discher