Making running inclusive for the whole community – Together We Are Runners, Bradford
16 March 2023
The accessibility and inclusivity of running are just two things that makes our sport fantastic!
Together We Are Runners is a RunTogether women’s running group in Bradford. They originally formed to give opportunities to women from backgrounds you don’t predominantly see in the running world.
Since then, with the help of Sport England, England Athletics, RunTogether, and the work of founder Sahar Ijaz, Together We Are Runners has become a safe space for local women. Regardless of their background, it is for women who want to run and be part of a friendly community.
Since their formation, the group has gone from strength to strength. With twelve women now running together each week.
Creating an identity
Ensuring that the runners felt comfortable and part of the running community was a top priority for Sahar. Within her culture, it is important that women feel they can exercise in a modest and comfortable way with running and fitness clothing often being tight-fitting or short.
With the support of a Sport England grant, Sahar wanted to break down the barriers that runners in her group had experienced. She designed brand-new longline hoodies and bum bags for the women’s running group to wear. These enable the runners to feel confident and comfortable as well as being able to dress modestly.
“These hoodies have had an incredibly positive impact on the women. They all report feeling much more confident and comfortable when they run with them. I have noticed their confidence level increase massively. They no longer say that they feel embarrassed or nervous when running in a busy area.”
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The personalised hoodies and logos have given the ladies’ running group in Bradford a brand-new group identity
One member of the group said: “the hoodie has given me a greater sense of belonging and motivation whilst running. It’s also easier to spot one another from greater distances and gives good representation of women of colour running to others.”
It is fantastic to see how Together We Are Runners have created an empowering community. Not to mention, showing first-hand how running is inclusive to all. As Sahar suggests perfectly, “someone from your background seeing you out running will mean so much to them. There could be a young girl seeing you run and in her head that might change her life and she could be inspired.”
Celebrating their first anniversary!
The celebrations don’t stop there on what has been a whirlwind year for Together We Are Runners. They recently marked their very first anniversary. The Bradford running group paid a visit to National Trust property, Hardcastle Craggs in Hebden Bridge to take enjoy a day together, bonding as a group in a brand-new location.
“It has been one of my biggest highlights with the group,” said Sahar, “A perfect celebration!”
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