Ethnic diversity

recreational running, triathlon, etc.

21 to 40 of 43 messages
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
23/12/2015 at 00:14

I am Fauja Singh's coach and President of Sikhs In The City - we also have branches in Hong Kong and Canada.


We organise about six races a year including the Dawn To Dusk Sunligh Ultra on the shortest day of the year - we are not totally mad lol

23/12/2015 at 00:26


You're possibly a little mad If that was a technical top and not a cotton tshirt on your site, I think some folks would be sorely tempted, whatever their background.

Back to the original point, I think people wanting to see healthy signs of diversity in running could do worse than check out some of London's parkruns- people of all colours, ages, shapes and speeds. If that sort of grass roots activity is a sign of what's coming down the pipe, then things are looking up. Those fast kids are tomorrow's annoyingly quick distance runners!

Edited: 23/12/2015 at 00:26
seren nos    pirate
23/12/2015 at 06:48

The thread is over three years old so hopefully running and triathlon are getting more diversity....I am definitely seeing more females at running and triathlon races...

23/12/2015 at 07:23



Our yellow smiley face and white ultra T-shirts are indeed cotton, we do not have any technical T-shirts in club colours.

Sikhs In The city (SITC) is proud to have made Valentines Parkrun the most diverse in the UK with our Parkrun group having people from nine different faiths and none.  It is also the biggest club at Valentines and we enjoy fantastic friendly relationship with all other local athletics clubs as we consider ourselves the 'feeder' club for them. SITC also represents the UK at the ING Luxembourg Interfaith Marathon Relay because of the diversity within the club.  SITC members have repeatedly voted against affiliation to UKA because of the lack of any meaningful representation in its decision making structure despite having an Equal Opportunities policy that looks nice on paper and (rightly) wanting the same from its member clubs.

I, as President of SITC am in a dilemna for having completed 100 marathons, I have had to have 100MC as first whatever - am not complaining but just saying.

Yes, those pesky fast kids - our youngest member is our fastest - at 11 he was sub 20 at Parkrun, his 13 year old brother is 3rd fastest in our club.

On Sunday 20 December SITC organised its 3rd Dawn To Dusk Ultra/Marathon/22km and 10km races - we are pleased to see that 80% of runners from all over the UK were white/  

seren nos    pirate
23/12/2015 at 08:31

It is good to see more diversity in running....I think sport is a great way to get people from different backgrounds etc together......where everyone is doing the same thing with similar goals.......

 and parkrun i think has probably helped lots more people into running

I rememeber the Sikhs running the Edinburgh marathon and relay in my first marathon in 2006...It greatly encouraged me to see them running as they were running so strong....and they were not youngsters    


23/12/2015 at 16:45
Back in the day people found xyz harriers too stuffy and elitist so they started running clubs.

These days mass participation has brought further waves of people in and they find all of that stuffy and elitist - they either train on their own or join 'crews' such as Run Dem or Fat Girls Run Too or whatever.

I like what SITC have done but I'd much prefer that skin colour didn't come into it and things like that became an irrelevance.
23/12/2015 at 16:50

Thank you Nayan,

Skin colour, or anything else doesn't matter to SITC either, we just named our club after it was featured in a programme of the same name by the BBC, previously we were Team Fauja - the oldest marathon runnrer.



24/12/2015 at 01:46
Out of curiosity, how can anyone know that Valentine's parkrun is the most ethnically diverse? In London it would be fairly likely hat most parkruns would have a large mix of participants from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Good on Sikhs in the city for their enthusiasm and efforts to be so inclusive.

As fa as the premise of this thread goes, most British elites in all fields of sport and professional life are White mddle or upper class too so it is not really a surprise that the broad church of running is that way too.

Colour or creed should not matter but it does. Everyone is a little bit racist as they sing in Avenue Q.
29/12/2015 at 19:05
Can't help but think this all just depends where in the country you live.

The UK is 82% white with Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland being more than 90%. London is 70% White so if you are taking part in a run anywhere in the UK outside of London then 90% of participants being white pretty much fits in with the demographic.
29/12/2015 at 23:35


With SITC having 137 members from nine different faiths and ethnic backgrounds at Valentines Parkrun, the next biggest club (Dagenham 88) in the 90's, Ilford AC, East London Runners etc all very ethically mixed has meant Valentines Parkrun is the most ethnically diverse Parkrun in the country.

Last week, the SITC Dawn To Dusk Sunlight Ultra (plus marathon, 22km and 10km races) had 109 runners coming from as far afield as Co. Durham, North Wales and the South Coast had 25% minority ethnic participants - and a good time was had by all - just read the feedback.

30/12/2015 at 14:03
I still don't get how you know that no other parkrun of club in London (or elsewhere for that matter) is more religiously diverse. Where I run there are lots of people from different parts of the world but I've never heard of a religious census taking place so can't state whether we can beat 9/10 groups.
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