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US Trail Running Conference Webinar Offers Guidelines to Increase Diversity for Trail Races

March 4, 2022

Effective advice and actionable steps to enable race directors to reach out and connect with communities of color


Estes Park, CO /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The second webinar in a seven-webinar series produced by the US Trail Running Conference and presented by Marathon Printing, the leading producer of custom printed items for endurance sports, was live on Thursday, February 24. The session subject for was: Diversity and Inclusion, focused on BIPOC, and was sponsored by  Salomon. The webinar series is held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association.

This webinars content was focused on guidelines and actions that race directors and event organizers can follow to enable them to connect with their local communities of color with the aim of encouraging them to participate in race events and result in increased diversity for events. Panelists were Verna Volker, Founder, Native Women RunningMaria Solis, Founder, Latinos Run and Latinas Run, Will White & Rob Palmore, Trail Ambassadors with Black Men Run.

The session content started with covering land acknowledgement, a subject that some race directors have expressed concern over how to include within events. Next came the importance of authentic relationships, the ability to listen and learn to communities of color, co-hosting an event with your local community or chapter, and providing local runners of color or ambassadors with guaranteed entry into selected events to encourage other runners of color to register for those races.

Other actionable items included inviting a local community of color or chapter to have a tent or table setup, either pre or post event; donating to a local chapter or organization to help fund programs and services that support the BIPOC community; making long-term commitments, not just a one time assistance; connecting with high school cross country and track teams that often have runners of color; considering the role of unconscious bias and that the impact of not seeing anyone like me isnt inviting; connecting with and inviting communities of color to participate as volunteers on course; sharing success stories like those from Vacation Races and Dirtbag Runners; the importance of making sure to accurately trail conditions and gear requirements who is not used to your local terrain and conditions; consider BIPOC communities for board or senior positions in your organization.

The webinar closed with comments from each panelist on appropriate and respectful use of imagery of BIPOC runners within the sport. Volker commented that people will often look at us as in the past, and that Native people dont exist, so its really important to know that Native people are 100% in existence … .it’s also important to do your research and connect with the Native peoples in your area.

Palmore added, If I see someone out there that I can relate to culturally then it just makes me feel that much more comfortable. That is not just in advertising, its also your race crew, endless opportunities … .also remember that shape is important as well, we come in all different shapes too. To attract newer runners include all the folks that might not exist in your current messaging.

Solis commented that I always say that you emulate what you see, and its so important for our communities to see people that look like us at their races, and this impacts more generations to come out and participate.

In closing, White added, my picture was actually used for a race that I had signed up for in a promo for the race, and I hadnt even run the race yet. They had pulled my picture from one of my social media feeds – it would have been good for them to reach out to me. I thought it was a little rude that they thought it was ok to use my picture to help promote their race, without connecting with me. I enjoyed the race, but that was an interesting thing to happen.”   

Each webinar is presented by industry leaders in their respective fields, and offers
information that can boost a race directors knowledge and afford insight into innovative practices to implement at their events. Every participant receives a slide deck with step by step information that includes best practices from the expert presenters. There will also be an opportunity to follow up on deliverables in-person at the 2022 US Trail Running Conference to be held October 19-22, in Mukilteo, Washington.

Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported participants representing more than 18 states, as well as Canada, North Macedonia, Great Britain, and New Zealand.

More info:

For details on the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, go to https://ustrailrunningconference.com/webinar-series/

Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information, terry@ustrailrunningconference.com, or 303-304-9159

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