If you’re a runner and you don’t read Runner’s World, you should definitely start. It’s my main source of running news and advice. Black Girls Run! was featured in the December 2011 issue of RW in an article titled “Why is Running So White?” and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy and check it out.
The BGR! girls wrote a great response to the article on their blog last weekend and I wanted to post my own thoughts. I’ve joked before about how I, along with most black women, sometimes use my hair as an excuse not to work out. Anyone who argues with that is either delusional, has a never-ending bank account and an on-call stylist or doesn’t care about how they look. But obviously there are a lot of other reasons why I rarely see other black men and women running.
Last summer, when I trained for my first half marathon with Team in Training, I was the only person of color on our team. How is it possible that I was the only black person on a New Orleans-based team? I’m from the suburbs so it was nothing new for me, but looking back, I wish I had tried to bring more diversity into the group.
I thought about sharing my theories about the lack of diversity in the sport, but there doesn’t seem to be a point. The article was well written and eye-opening, but is that enough? Awareness is imperative, but change is the ultimate goal.
I started this blog as a way to document my training and to give myself a creative outlet to balance the stress and monotony of law school. The reason I continue to blog, besides loving it, is that so many people have told me how inspiring it is and how I’ve motivated them to start running too. Most of those people happen to be black. If my running, and writing about it, inspires other black/hispanic/asian people to join me, then I’m contributing to the change.
It has become a goal of mine to convert as many people as I can to running and fitness. Every sport and fitness activity in our country should be diverse and the only way that can happen is if we encourage each other to try new things and break free from stereotypes. If you’re going to the gym tonight, bring a girlfriend. If you miss your high school sports days, form an intramural basketball team with your co-workers or friends. If you want to encourage a family member to start running, convince them to run a half-marathon relay with you. Just find a group of people, filled with those who look like you and those who don’t, and start moving. Neither obesity nor disease discriminate and neither should we.
We’ve identified the problem, now let’s be the change.