Running should be for everyone! I’m from a South Asian background and know that many women like myself may not take up running because there’s a lack of positive role models.
I’ve been patronised and made fun of over my love of running but I’ve also had loads of positive feedback from friends, family and strangers who’ve see my running adventures on Instagram who’ve asked me to help them start running too. That’s why I'm working hard to encourage more diversity and inclusivity in running by sharing my running journey on Instagram as @jevisjourney using the hashtag #diversityinrunning.
I’m also proud to be a Run Angel Ambassador using the product for all my runs, in turn feeling safe and not worried for my safety.
I started running in January 2017 after realising I wanted to lose weight and get fit. I was born and raised in Oslo in Norway where being active was a vital part of the education and culture but after having two children I’d become complacent and stopped exercising. I took on running as a way to get fit and healthier.
The first time I ran in my local park I did a 3K with a lot of walk breaks and really enjoyed it so I went on to run a couple of times a week, increasing my distances over time. Since then I’ve run numerous 10Ks, a few half marathons and of course the most memorable, the London Marathon, last year. I ran the marathon for Mind, the mental-health charity.
There are several reasons why South Asian women might not run: lack of time, not feeling confident about running outside, not having access to childcare, and negative perceptions within the community. Most would rather go to a gym than pounding pavements outdoors.
By being a positive role model for isolated, busy and inactive women, especially those who’re from a diverse background, I aim to help overcome all these barriers and lead healthier lives. This is particularly important in the South Asian community as health issues such as diabetes and heart disease are very common. Running also benefits emotional wellbeing and makes me feel that I’ve achieved something despite no matter what the day may throw at me
I attained the Leadership in Running Fitness Course 2 years ago and now run my own little running group for women from diverse backgrounds. The group is called ‘We Run The World’ which is also the title of my favourite song by Beyoncé about female empowerment.
Running is empowering and an escape that I’d love more women to benefit from. As such I’ve also now started a recycling programme collecting used running shoes from people in the running community and donate them to deprived runners who may be beginner runners to help them sustain their running especially those from minority backgrounds. The programme is called @runners _renew_programme on Instagram