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11 Things the Running Community Can Do to Be More Intentionally Inclusive

By Randy Accetta, RRCA Director of Coaching Education
As I travel the country in my role with the RRCA, I hear time and again that run clubs & run crews are often seen as cliquish, friendship-groups that are not welcoming to others. In my role as RRCA's Director of Coaching Education, I offer some specific action-items for those of who have asked how the local and national running community can address some of the important national issues. Based on conversations and lots of listening to others around the country, here's my take on 11 things that running communities can do to be more intentionally inclusive:
  1. Actively recruit board members for the local running club from multiple communities, not just the tried-and-true friendship circles;
  2. Actively recruit different voices for strategic planning;
  3. Actively recruit new charity partners for the charity aspect of races so that new charity communities get engaged with our sport;
  4. On social media, follow people and communities that you have not regularly followed (as an example, for majority white clubs, follow communities of color; for able-bodies runners, follow adaptive athletic sports and run clubs; and so on) with the goal of learning what other people are talking about;
  5. Invite a more diverse set of guest speakers to speak at running store and running club social events;
  6. Hold events in new and different race locations to engage with and highlight different communities;
  7. Offer land acknowledgments, including by pre-race announcements and maps to recognize that race routes take place on tribal and indigenous lands;
  8. Provide public declarations of solidarity;
  9. Actively engage with younger runners of color so they stay in the sport after youth and high school years;
  10. Everybody share -- have a broad list of contacts so that news about upcoming events, news about needs, and news about successes can be shared across communities;
  11. Finally, on a personal level, don't be afraid to just be a nice person -- introduce yourself, smile, say hello, invite people to run with you, talk about running and life, and just be a warm, welcoming person.

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