New Sheffield running group hopes to encourage more asian and Muslim people to take up running

Sheffield’s running boom saw a new group launch last weekend, with Crescent Runners setting out to encourage more Asian people to lace up their trainers and get out into the Outdoor City.

Monday, 8th July 2019, 5:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 4:22 pm
Round Sheffield Run: members of Crescent Runners before the run

“We’re hoping this group will get even more people running and exercising and improving their fitness within the local Asian and Muslim communities,” said one of the Crescent Runners founders, Arif Ali.  "You see mostly white faces at running events, so by launching this new group on social media and taking part in events like the Round Sheffield Run we’re hoping to double or treble the numbers of Asian and Muslim people running over the next couple of years.” Marathon runner Arif explained that many young Asian people are encouraged by parents to focus on studying and careers rather than exercise, and so find it harder to get going when they’re older.  The group aims to launch a ‘Couch to 5K’ running beginners course in September and meanwhile will be visiting local community centres, mosques and temples in order to promote how running can help improve both physical fitness and mental health.  The group is not an affiliated athletics club, so competitive members can stick with their own running clubs as well as helping to spread the running word through Crescent Runners.  Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the group on social media, said Arif, adding that parkrun and local running clubs are all helping to spark interest.

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But there is still much to do to change attitudes from non-runners in all communities, said Crescent Runners co-founder Zaheer Mahmood. “After I did the London Marathon people in my community asked me what position I came, and seemed not to understand why I did it if I didn’t get close to Mo Farah,” he laughed. “So I’d say to them: ‘When you can run over there and back again to me, you can ask me about my position in the London Marathon!’”