News & Media

Running to tackle a lack of representation

Emancipated Run Crew (ERC) came to life when sisters Denise and Jules Stephenson, along with their friend Trojan Gordon, took a stand against what they saw as the lack of representation in running, whether that be on the streets, in running magazines or from sportswear companies. They decided to create a running club for people of all backgrounds and abilities, but particularly for the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

“After taking part in races and training groups, I was personally despondent about the lack of representation of BAME runners,” says co-founder Denise. “Even in the running groups in central London, which is one of the most diverse cities in the UK, there was a lack of BAME people in these groups.

“Following on from a need to be seen as black runners, to inspire people to run and from our continued frustration of the lack of representation – after recording a podcast episode with our dear friend and fellow runner Trojan – we decided to set up Emancipated Run Crew.”

The ERC now meets regularly and has a number of members taking on The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 1 March as part of its mission to ensure more people of colour are represented in running events throughout the capital.

Co-founder Jules says: “The Vitality Big Half is a race that’s really trying to celebrate the diversity of London and to show that running is an activity that’s open to all Londoners. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and why should that not be reflected in the activities that happen in London?”

Denise agrees, saying: “It’s all about making sure there is adequate representation and being visible to other black people who want to start running but don’t have a connection with the marketing that’s out there at the moment.

“We (ERC) come together with one objective – to run free. The fact that we do it with other people of colour is amazingly powerful. Running has incredible benefits for people, mentally as well as physically.”

To find out more about Emancipated Run Crew, visit