Women in Running Pt. 2 with Antonella Chispe
What run communities are you involved in?
I am involved with two run clubs: Tempo Training Run Club (weekday in the San Fernando Valley) and Azusa Pacers (weekends in Azusa). I live in the San Fernando Valley, but I make the 35 minute drive on the weekends to run with the Azusa Pacers. I was part of the first 5 marathoners when the group started over a year ago, and have been supportive through my running and career goals.
What does that community do to make you feel strong, empowered and supported as a female runner?
The running community creates a safe place for female runners. Everyone looks out for one another. As a women, running in a group gives a sense of relief of constantly having to look over our shoulders. My experience running with both of these groups is that the ladies are very much empowered and supported either by leading the group or grinding out a workout together. “Teamwork makes the dream dream!” is a quote we often say out loud during our longs with Azusa Pacers. It really creates an atmosphere of team and equality.
What improvements could be made in the running world (online and offline) to support and encourage more women to get into running?
I think we need to do a better job of showing more female runners of all body shapes. I also think local run clubs should put more effort in promoting runs for new runners and having a lead for new runners. I think that would really give opportunity for more woman to run in a safe space and not feel intimidated. One of the main reason I hear often from the ladies about doing a run club is that they feel they are not fast enough. I know many of the run clubs are beginner-friendly, but I think there needs to be more effort in promoting it often.
Do you feel safe running the streets after dark (or during the day) within your local neighbourhoods? If not, what recommendations do you have to make this different?
I don’t feel safe running after dark in my neighborhood. My recommendations would be join a run club, ask friends available to run at night, or find a park with lots of lights.