Ethnic diversity

recreational running, triathlon, etc.

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11/07/2012 at 20:05
Runs-with-dogs - I was just about to mention the Glasgow Sikhs. I've frequently been overtaken by very, very old blokes in turbans at races in Glasgow, moving at speed. A lot run as part of 'Sikhs in the City'.
11/07/2012 at 20:12

Love the name - Sikhs in the City

They even have their own website!

11/07/2012 at 20:54

There are groups of ethnic runners in the East End of London, but not many take part in races. However, there is a club/group of Indian runners called Sikhs in the City, who do race.

12/07/2012 at 10:04
Running Rodent wrote (see)
Runs-with-dogs - I was just about to mention the Glasgow Sikhs. I've frequently been overtaken by very, very old blokes in turbans at races in Glasgow, moving at speed. A lot run as part of 'Sikhs in the City'.

Yeah, some of them are alarmingly good. I often see young Sikhs out training with the oldsters, and looking rather pee'd off at being unable to keep up. Years ago I saw an old guy running late at night, heading along Gt Western Rd out of Glasgow towards Clydebank. About 5 hours later I saw him again heading back in, still looking fresh and running at a fair pace.

P.S. Muttley - Sikhs in the City are mostly a London club I think. The Glasgow Sikhs all wear t-shirts that say 'heat sikh-ing missile' which always makes me smile when I see them.

12/07/2012 at 20:23

you just got in ahead of me runs-with-dogs. i always like to see the sikh lads at scottish races.

in general I think that the level of ethnic diversity in races is probably about right.

a very small percentage of runners belong to non-white groupings, which matches the ethnic make up of the UK i.e. the vast majority are white, despite what the tabloid press would have you believe.

13/07/2012 at 11:00

Haha. Excellent point. Last census recorded less than 10% of the population as being non-white, with a disproportionate percentage living in central London, meaning the rest of the UK is much 'whiter'. I suppose it's the same in Scotland - most non-white folk live in Glasgow. My flat's right in the middle of the biggest Asian area in the south side - for a few years I was the only white person for four closes in either direction and I was definitely the ethnic minority there.

13/07/2012 at 11:12
sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

Just thinking further - what is the ethnic mix here on RW? Not that I'm saying we as a group are representative of anything, but from the people I know in real-life or am also friends with on facebook - I think most, if not all, are white. 

I used to live in the West Midlands - lots of ethnic diversity. I think Birmingham is ~60% white, yet the running clubs and events in the area are still predominantly white. 


I don't think it is just RW but most bloggers/contributors on lots of sites are imho white middle class, so this post is unlikely to get input from anybody different.

13/07/2012 at 19:24

Hey Sarah, Im mixed race and run, my mum, bro and little sis all run too.  I live in a little town in Wiltshire (Bro lives in Cayman Islands, Sister in Leeds and Mum in Basingstoke) and I do see a couple of non white runners, which considering the ethnic made up of the town (99% white) its pretty surprising. I have to say whilst my brother has run in varies events (NY Marathon, London Marathon etc), neither me, my mum or my sister have. This is nothing to do with my 'race' more about not really ready for racing although this is something i hope to change next year!  

A previous poster stated something about black runners doing sprint races and i have to say my body shape in particular my legs (Tennis player legs an ex used to call them!) lends its self better for sprints and I tend to run too fast for my capabilities. I found it very difficult initially to run slow but ive worked hard on it over the past year and think i've just about cracked it and am now trying to speed up but in a maintainable way which enables me to cover distance!

if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask away

13/07/2012 at 21:48

Hi, thought I'd chip into this thread as it's something I've pondered a lot myself! I'm a relatively new runner; I started entering races about a year ago. I'm Chinese by origin, and female, and when I rock up to events I'm very aware that I'm among a sea of mostly white (male) runners.

Last week I ran a local race which had 120 participants, and by my reckoning there was me and one of my fellow club runners, who is black African, who were the only non-white runners there. And incidentally we were also minorities in terms of age as most people were 50+. I'm intrigued as to why running attracts a certain demographic and doesn't seem to draw in ethnic minorities. My local parkrun is in a highly diverse neighbourhood with black and South Asian (particularly Muslim) communities, especially around the park itself, but I only see a small handful participating in the run itself every week. Maybe at most around a dozen from a field of usually around 150. Not only that, ethnic origin aside, it's a very middle class field. I reckon most people who attend are people who have moved to the city to study or work, and I don't see many 'local' residents as such - white or of ethnic origin. I don't understand where the perceived cultural (or even social) barriers to running are, since it's such an accessible activitity, and there are lots of British ethnic minority role models  in running (although more in terms of sprinting/track and field, perhaps not so many in long distance events? Though I'm no expert so there could well be some high profile role models I don't know of!).

My personal theory is that Chinese (in Britain) don't really engage in competitive sports because it's not really encouraged from a young age - I think that parents encourage youngsters to focus on academics at school and being competitive and excelling at sports could serve to detract from studies and the chances of getting into uni/getting a good job etc. Sports are encouraged for recreation and health but not so much on the competitive level. Although that is obviously a big generalisation.

Also, I think, my view, that for some traditional families from ethnic backgrounds, daughters are less likely to be encouraged to run and engage in other competitive sports as it wouldn't be seen as a 'feminine' activity. 

They're just my thoughts! As you might be able to tell, it's something I've pondered a lot!

Edited: 13/07/2012 at 22:28

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