If you aren’t already following some of these influential runners who are changing the community for the better, now is the time to do so. While it was hard to narrow down a list, these are runners of colour from all backgrounds who participate in events ranging from track to ultra-trail. If you’re looking for a stellar list of people who share your joy of running and are contributing meaningfully to their community, look no further.
Felicien is a former world champion and Canadian record-holder in the 100m hurdles. The runner, mom and author is using her channel to call out systemic racism and promote change in her community.
Air Up There Run Crew
This run crew champions diversity and can be found in Hamilton. They run a Social Saturday 5K in the morning and an evening run on Thursdays. When public health measures allow, their runs will resume. You can find them at Red Church cafe and gallery.
Filsan Abdiaman is a Canadian ultrarunner and founder of Project Love Run, a group dedicated to creating safe spaces for all women to come together and talk about everything, including diversity and misrepresentation in their communities. She was profiled in the November & December 2016 issue of Canadian Running and appeared on the November & December 2017 cover.
Praught-Leer is the Jamaican record-holder in both the steeplechase and 5,000m, and she is also the 2018 Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion. She comes from a country that is known for producing the world’s best sprinters, but she’s trying to help broaden its horizons. She wants to encourage other Jamaican women to take up distance running, just like she did. Praught-Leer currently trains in the U.S., out of Boulder, Colo., but she went home in 2019 to run a training camp to create distance running opportunities for the young women of Jamaica.
This account is run by Ekua Cudjoe, a former University of Toronto track and field athlete, and it is dedicated to empowering the black and black LGBTQQIP2SAA community. On Monday, August 3, @solefulruns is partnering with @stringtrackclub and @fit.caramilk to host a virtual run. The emancipation run/walk can be done anywhere and participants can complete any distance. Runners are encouraged to celebrate their identity and heritage by wearing a flag. If interested, sign up here.
Meaux Redhead is an ASICS road runner, functional fitness personal trainer and flight attendant. Check out her feed for running, nutrition and strength inspiration.
Effah is a two-time Canadian 100m champion, 2019 Amazing Race Canada runner-up, RBC Olympian and Keynote Speaker and a member of the Commonwealth Games Canada Athlete Council. He wrote a piece last week for Canadian Running entitled Running while black. He reminds Canadians that systemic racism “is not a Black issue, but an issue that needs to be addressed by everyone. Unconscious bias needs to be looked at head first. I challenge you to figure out how we can undo these built-in mindsets and build a better society – one where you’re judged not by the colour of your skin but by the content of your character, like Martin Luther King Jr. historically described.”
Álvarez dropped out of college in 2004 and ran his first 6,000-mile relay from Canada to Guatemala. The runners who participate complete thousands of miles (10 to 20 miles a day) for months. The race is called the PDJ, Peace and Dignity Journey – it’s an Indigenous movement that takes runners through native lands in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central America. The PDJ happens every four years and you can follow Álvarez’s journey through his social media.