Monday, January 21, 2013

Race and Running... A Question of Diversity?

This morning I read a post from another mother runner which noted the general lack of diversity in the running community. These women travel to races and expos all over the country and, overall, have viewed a very white field.

I have to be honest. With my transracial family, I consider myself to be pretty observant about diversity. Sometimes I worry I'm over-vigilant. But this post came at me out of left field. I had not really thought about it with regards to running. Yet, once I did, my mind flashed immediately to the few races I've run. Other than Detroit, they were very, well, white. And even Detroit... I would be curious about the racial breakdown between the 5k, half marathon and marathon.

Then I thought about S's cross country team. CC is hugely popular at her school. There are approximately 70 kids on the team. She is the only girl of color. There is one Indian boy.  

 What barriers exist and how do we break them down?

On one hand, running is a very inexpensive form of fitness. A good pair of shoes and you're off. Arguably there are more basics (a supportive bra for one!) but shoes are key. But not cheap. Is this cost a factor? Some other unavailability?

I hope it's not a feeling of exclusion. Generally speaking, I have found runners as a group to be welcoming and compassionate, supportive regardless of your pace. But what kinds of exclusions may be happening, even unintentionally?

If I, someone who often has race on her mind, completely missed the lack of diversity... What else am I missing?

~Martin Luther King Jr.~

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