Ethnic diversity

I was wondering - and correct me if I'm wrong - but does it seem like recreational running and triathlon are predominantly done by white people? I don't know if there's any research been done on the subject, but did find an article on the US RW site (link) about the subject that states around 90% of people included in a survey of recreational runners were white. 

Just pondering...

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Comments

  • 90%  Is that all??

    http://lrn.london-marathon.com/static/photo_gallery/image_260.jpeg

     This thread could get controversial  image, but in the mean time yes it is interesting to ponder, although I'm not sure I've got many answers.

  • I did wonder about the controversy it might bring up - people do like a good debate! 

    I've not got any answers - when I get a chance I'm going to do a bit of a search for any academic research.

  • It is true that I train with very few people who are not white, but it is also true that a very large percentage of the population where I live is white.  There are clusteres of Asians but very few of them seem to be into exercise.  Or at least not the exercise that I do.  I have no idea why that is.  I have never witnessed any behaviour that would put them off joining my clubs, and we do have a large number of white europeans who have English as a second language who have never complained of any sort of harassment.

    I would be interested to hear the views of some non-white sports people

  • Judging by what i've seen in races, it seems that way.  Haven't got time to read the article at the mo, but wondering if the percentage of people who race at all, compared to population of a country vs the ethnic diversity of those racing compared to the overall ethnic diversity of the country, match in anyway?  (if that makes sense...)

    I'm sure there was an easier way to say that image it makes sense in my head

  • From my observation at races, the overwhelming majority are white, towards or in middle age and also, to judge from the cars and kit, middle class.

    I make no claims to that being a scientific sample, just what seems to be the case to me.

    I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing but yes, worth pondering why.

  • in the international stage the asian countries have never been big into athletics...........for their youth if you are talented athletically you go into cricket.........thats where the passion and money is............so if you look at local cricket tteams are there more balanced........i don't know as i only watch cricket on tele.and there seems to be lots in the crowd............but maybe thats because we were watching the indian 20/20 leagueimage

  • depends on how you define asian - Japan goes mental crazy for both marathon running and triathlon ..maybe that's the american influence on Japanese culture.. 

  • I occasionally see runners from other enthicities at races, but not often.

    However, I would guess that the population of Essex (where I live and mostly run) is predominantly white.

     

  • Lee the Pea wrote (see)

    wondering if the percentage of people who race at all, compared to population of a country vs the ethnic diversity of those racing compared to the overall ethnic diversity of the country, match in anyway?  (if that makes sense...)

     


    If you look at the photo above, the participants in the London Marathon hardly reflect the ethnic diversity of London!  (Although I appreciate people come from further afield to take part.)

    Even on a local level the mix of participation in different types of running is interesting. My club is based in South London and is perhaps more ethnically diverse than most represented here on RW, but there is very sharp delineation of black sprinters and white long distance runners with very few exceptions.

  • 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. 

     

  • Very ethnic. We've got jocks scousers and even yorkies !
  • Some have even been outside their own countries too!

  • You mean the welsh caz ?
  • I meant to type counties, but it is true the Welsh sometimes sneak over the borders.  I've heard rumours that the Scottish might too.

  • Just thinking of the parkrun finishers at my local event last time I gave out numbers we'd a couple of chinese, one asian and around 4 black people.  Out of 80 odd finishers that's not a lot but it probably reflects the population of the city (if you exclude students who've gone home now).  Within the white population we've a lot of Eastern Europeans and we certainly have maybe half a dozen of those who come along regularly.

    Maybe because parkrun isn't competitive, costs nothing to participate in that we're seeing a more reflective participation than traditional races.

  • SuperCaz wrote (see)

    I meant to type counties, but it is true the Welsh sometimes sneak over the borders.  I've heard rumours that the Scottish might too.

    I am planning a cross Border raid this weekend again image  The target is Manchester this time.

  • Look at the front end of the big marathons - isn't it mostly African (Ethiopian & Kenyan) ? 

  • My dad always used to wonder why he never saw any non-white hillwalkers...

    Running seems to be rather popular among Sikhs. Almost all of the Asian runners I see at the Glasgow half marathon every year are Sikhs. They also turn out to support the race in huge numbers and often organise great unofficial water/snack stations along the route. In the TV coverage you can usually see a large crowd of Scottish Sikhs running the London marathon too - a big mass of yellow t-shirts and a huge banner...

  • Yep, and that would be why I specified 'recreational' image
  • 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'.
  • Love the name - Sikhs in the City image

    They even have their own website!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Harmander,

    You're possibly a little mad image 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!

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