For the 29th year running, Washington DC's Dupont Circle hosted the annual High Heels Race on Tuesday night (27 October). Elaborately costumed drag queens were cheered on to the finish line by an enthusiastic crowd that came out in large numbers despite the forecast rain.

The race, in which drag queens in high heels sprint up 17th street, was once a niche event for Washington DC's gay community. But in recent years it has become broadly celebrated, and a number of the participants are straight men, organisers said.

Police shut down the roads around 17th street, as crowds gathered to watch the drag queens who paraded up and down the street before the start of the race. A drag queen, who goes by the name of Sister Allie Lewya of The DC Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, said that the race was a good chance for an uptight city like DC to unwind.

"And DC is very uptight, right? This is a very political town. This sort of thing does not make sense in DC. How it's been around this long just baffles me. So we're out here to support anything that helps DC live more joyfully, less uptight, a little less concerned about image and just to have fun," said Sister Lewya.

The event's organisers had promised the race would go on "rain or shine", but despite looming clouds, the rain never came. One drag queen by the name of Elizabeth Regina has been coming to the race since it began, and said it is a different era now.

"A friend of mine won the first one year ago. He lives in Lauderdale now. And it was strictly a bar activity then. And then early on it was just gay people, and it really has broadened to the whole community," said Regina.

The race was won by Tosha Salad who Fox News reported ran the two block sprint in a mere 41 seconds, heels and all.