Brent woman becomes champion for Black women running
- Credit: Tasha Thompson
When Tasha Thompson, founder of Black Girls Do Run UK, started running outdoors, switching treadmills for parks, she did not know that 22 years later she would create an organisation to promote running for black women.
Black Girls Do Run UK is about “increasing the visibility of normal black women running,” as Tasha put it.
Tasha grew up in Brent and now works for the NHS and considers running her second occupation. In 1999, she took her first race and loved it.
“I was quite confused why there were not more black women running,” recalls Tasha.
She added: “We’re well represented at an elite level and have amazing east African long-distance runners as well as the sprinters in the Caribbean”. However, normal Black people running for their (mental) health are invisible.
Tasha said: “Running is so easy to fit into your life. You don’t need much, it can be quite an expensive sport, but to run ten minutes you just need good trainers and a good sports bra”.
Tasha runs three to four times a week. “Running makes me feel free”, she said, “I like being in nature, I love the changing scenery”.
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She aims to take the pressure off. With Black Girls Do Run UK, the performance doesn’t matter. “We have fun, we chat, and we make friends”. She added: “Even if it’s just 15 minutes, it makes a difference”.
For Tasha, the benefits of running are numerous.
“Anything else in my life involves somebody else: my children, my job. Running is what I do for me. It’s important to cut some time for yourself, no matter how busy you are. As you get fitter, you feel stronger, you feel empowered. You feel better about yourself, you have more energy.”
As the Running Mayor of Brent - a ceremonial community role - she’s also encouraging people to run by showing them how to be creative with their time.
Tasha and other local runners meet on Thursday mornings in Harlesden. A monthly run is organised in a central London park and those from all walks of life are encouraged to join in.