Canada Running Series and Black Runners of the GTA have teamed up to host a virtual panel on April 22 to discuss diversity and inclusion in the running community. The panel will feature presentations from four different speakers who will discuss what inclusivity in running means to them and how the running industry can do better to improve representation in the sport. We spoke with Black Runners of the GTA founder Melanie Murzeau to get the official preview before Thursday’s panel.
Like many people, Murzeau found her way to running through other sports. She was inspired and encouraged to get into running by her brother, who had already completed a couple of marathons. She started running on her own, finding that running groups were hard to get to from her home in Scarborough.
“It felt like I was isolated in Scarborough. Especially if I wanted to participate in a run crew downtown,” she explains. ” The commute was too burdensome with raising a young family and cut into my run plans.”
This is what inspired her to start Black Runners of the GTA in June 2020. Murzeau was having trouble finding run crews that catered to goals beyond getting faster, and didn’t see a lot of runners who looked like her out there. She didn’t want to be so isolated, so she created the Instagram account with the goal of bringing other Black runners into the running community.
“Representation matters,” she explains. “The main concept behind BRGTA is to act as a source of inspiration – if you saw a Black, Indigenous or person of colour being featured. You might be compelled to start running.”
Thursday’s panel will be an extension of what Black Runners of the GTA already does: create representation for BIPOC runners in the community. The speakers will be talking about inclusion in run crews and races, and discussing what running means to them to let other BIPOC runners know that there is a space for them in the sport. If you are the leader of a run crew, an event organizer, or are simply wanting to learn how you can help make running a more inclusive space for everyone, this virtual event should not be missed.
The panel begins at 7 p.m. ET and will run for just over an hour. It is free to join, and anyone who wishes to participate can click here to join. Black Runners of the GTA will also be launching their website on Thursday, which you will be able to access at blackrunnersofthegta.net.