Inclusive running club: How to find a welcoming running group

Hashtags can also tell the story of a group’s goals, goals, or representation. Staples recommends researching whether hashtags are what you’re looking for, such as #sub4orbust if you’re aiming to smash four hours into the marathon, or ones like #blackgirlsrun or #latinasrun if you want to find groups where you’ll feel represented. —appear on running club pages. You can also try searching for these hashtags to lead you to potential running club pages.

If you’re on the other side, for example, a group leader, there are more active steps you can take to ensure you’re fostering inclusivity.

While it can certainly be productive to seek out an inclusive running club on your own, the past two years have shown us that this job certainly shouldn’t fall to underrepresented runners alone. Much of the work should fall to the administration of the running club.

Self-managed clubs can take some key steps to ensure they cultivate acceptance – and it all starts with a little soul-searching about their club’s inherent purpose. According to Su, it’s important to assess what your club’s main ultimate goals are. From there, you may wonder how you can be sensitive to everyone’s needs.

“If the goal is just to help people train or qualify for the Boston Marathon, then own it,” Su says. “From there, think about what it would take to really help everyone, of all body types and paces, achieve that goal.”

For example, if your club is made up of a core of sub-elite riders focused on competition first and foremost, it’s perfectly acceptable to state that publicly: someone who may not be at that level will probably appreciate to know about this progress. At the same time, if speed and competition are the core values ​​of your club, but you also want to welcome people from lower levels, you can focus on recruiting people into the community with similar but related goals, for example. example by spreading the word you We are creating pace groups for people in the older age brackets who want to qualify for Boston, or people who want to take a four hour break from the marathon.

“What seems dishonest is when clubs or crews to say they are inclusive and want to accommodate everyone, but it doesn’t match their original goal and they don’t know how to achieve it,” Su adds.

When it comes to openly welcoming marginalized groups, regardless of the group’s performance goals, a great way to start is to issue a diversity statement, which many groups, large and small, started doing lately. year. This statement should emphasize that you are committed to building representation in your club and that you invite members of all backgrounds and levels of experience to consider joining.

According to Staples and Su, another critical aspect of working to be truly inclusive is literally meeting people where they are. Simply inviting diverse groups of runners (or individual runners) to join your group in a central and largely homogeneous area will not be as effective as meeting marginalized groups in areas where they are largely concentrated. You can start by contacting members of an existing running club and scheduling a joint run at their home base.

“Connect with the other existing running clubs that are there, and don’t let those groups go out of their way to collaborate and create events in their part of town, where the minority communities are,” Su says. “Expecting minorities to travel to your home can be a huge ask, and will likely leave them feeling out of place.”

Between individuals and prominent members of the running community taking the initiative to create a more inclusive space, the running community as a whole can take several steps closer to being more equitable and welcoming.

“Open invitations are important, but you really have to go to places where there aren’t people like you,” Staples adds. “You’re ultimately going to have to get out there, survey the market and network, and really surround yourself with a community that you’re trying to build.”

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