20 years on

With the 20th anniversary issue looming, we've been looking back at old issues and came across the below letter, how relevant do you think it is 20 years on?

After recent reports about racism in football, there is a fair amount of stereotyping within athletics. Young black athletes are encouraged to be sprinters, white children steered towards middle distance or technical events. Many of us still carry outdated views we must try to overcome.

Paul Byrne, Surrey, Nov 93 





  • Given that most sprinters in the uk are black and most middle distance runner's are white while I don't want to agree with that statement to an extent I have to. Also for most races I've done marathon/half marathon/tri/fell they are pradomantly white not many people who arn't even through about 5 to 10% of the uk isn't white. It's slightly worrying.

    Don't think people are excuded far from it but unless you are exposed to a sport your never going to be interested in it. Endurance events tend to be mostly white middle class affairs.


  • I don't understand why there is a predominance of white runners in distance running - most of the greats, if we are looking for role models, all the current crop of great distance runners are black in the same way the majority of the sprinters in any top class meeting are also black - (just googled white sprinters and Christophe Lemaitre was the first white runner to officially break 10 seconds for the 100 metres as recently as 2010!!)

    To date no sprinter, apparently, from East Africa/Asia has broken the 10 second barrier.

    I do question whether sterotyping is the same as racism?  Because I would suggest athletics as a rule does not tend to follow the racism seen in football - but based on the the above perhaps that is where stereotyping has come in -

  • if you are simply talking about participation levels it could be argued there is less racism in football.

  • I thought Annie was telling us when all the bugs in the website would be fixed image

  • Cake - actually the percentage of UK residents who are "non white" is over 17% according to the ONS (and over 40% in London) so your races are even less representative than you thought.

  • image Even worse then.

    Grendal Don't think there is rasism in athletics far from it but just worries me slightly. Your right most of the top distance runner's are black but none of them are from the uk that's slightly different. Just saying not many black people take up the sport other than sprint which worries me as think it's because when they are kids there is no role models for them and no exposer to it. Only real exseption in the uk is mightly Mo who lived in sumarlia when he was very little and so might have had that exposer of role molel's ever before his family had to move or while he was growing up. And I can't think of a single person from asian decent in the uk who is doing stuff at the top end of sport? In term's of efanic minorites surely asain folks make by far the biggest minority in this country?

    Not got any answers but think in term's of sport this country is slightly self defecting in term's of getting kids doing stuff. Hopefully the olly's might have given some help in this but won't know for anouther 10 years or so?

  • p.s. Annie if you use any of these rambleings sorry for the spelling spell checker still broken. You might need a roseta stone. image

  • To put it another way one of the best GB folks from the last Olympics’ is Jess Ennis. Before her there was Denise Lewis who might have played as a role model. I know because I live near her and went to the same uni that she had opportunities to take up athletics’ as a result of Don valley stadium being on her door step.

    How many other Jess’s are there out there from the Chinese, Asian, ect communities who we will never know about because they have never and will never pick of a javelin or jump over hurdle’s at some point and ever stick with it or get spotted by a coach and get the encouragement they need to make it?

  • Annie, you might want to take a look at the covers of your magazines, and your selections of winners in the competitions you run.  As a mixed race girl in her 20s, Jess Ennis-Hill probably is the closest to a role model for me, but I've never picked up a javelin or thrown a shot put, so couldn't take up her sport.  I don't think I've ever seen a black or asian girl as a model on the front of RW.  And I'm not sure if there was anyone who made it to bootcamp for Asics 26.2 who wasn't white - perhaps you should look through the applicants to that competition to get a gauge of participation of the sport.  I would think 1700 is enough to be considered a representative sample.  

    I definitely feel that recent sports booms, of running, and more specifically cycling and triathlon are very much a middle class affair, largely as the cost of entry to the sports are so expensive.  But that's not a race/racial stereotyping issue, that's just the cost of luxuries versus the ever increasing cost of living.

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    Cake -- So you think every white person has picked up a javelin, jumped over a hurdle, and got spotted by a coach eh?

    AI2 -- I'd imagine that a bicycle could be an expensive bit of kit but I wouldn't say the cost of entry to running is high.

    Also, I don't really get this needing role models thing...  I gave running ago and carried on because I enjoyed it...  I could barely of named a distance runner prior to that.


  • Taxi no far from it but if you don’t have the opportunity to see if you want to do it you will never know and if there is no engagement with folks other than middle class white kids as suspect is the case you will never realise you want to do it. Not saying there aren’t opportunities out there just that if you don’t have any contact with someone whose already involved in something like running you will never realise they exist.

    Not saying got all the answer’s or even that have a clue about it just from own view point a concern. On a better note the original letter referred to football. Even now I hear cretin’s say racist things at football games I have never heard anything remotely racist at a race or competition meeting.

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    KK -- Paul Byrne's letter is no more drivel or irrelevant than a lot of the other stuff that gets discussed on this site.

  • Taxi Driver wrote (see)

    KK -- Paul Byrne's letter is no more drivel or irrelevant than a lot of the other stuff that gets discussed on this site.

    Exactly, so why does Annie/RW Towers appear to think that driving the discussions on the forum boards is necessary?  They drive themselves quite nicely without the need for 'Mother' to come in and tell us what to discuss.

    Annie - 20 years of RW letters and this is the best you can come up with?  It has been suggested elsewhere (granted, not here but I'll highlight it for you here now), that there have been events organised by RW forumites, supported heavily by forumites and discussed at length on the boards by forumites, yet RW has consistently failed to highlight these events in any of their media.  Why is this?  These are your people, your supporters and, in some cases, your income.  They are organising successful events, supporting their fellow forumites, gathering as a RW group and promoting the essence of the (your) online presence.  Surely worthy of some form of recognition? 

    Also, if we're talking about stereotyping, as has been suggested above, maybe you should suggest to your editors that the front covers of the magazine are very far removed from a true representation of your readership - to the point of ridicule in some camps.  Maybe RW could cease with the airbrushed waif like models and take some photos of real runners instead.  You know, in a supportive way, as opposed to patronising.

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