Women in Running Pt. 3 with Karishma Chandhyoke
What run communities are you involved in?
I am a member of Run Higher Collective in London and I also join other London clubs sometimes for long runs like Fulham Running Club or Tracksmith. When I am in the US, I join local run clubs. There are always clubs doing something if you look on social media or visit a local running store. I also meet ambassador friends to go for runs with! It is a great way to meet other ambassadors in real life!
What does that community do to make you feel strong, empowered and supported as a female runner?
The running communities across the world create a safe place for female runners. I like that you join like minded individuals and you can just concentrate on running without worrying about what time of day it is or if you are feeling safe. I have been lucky enough to run a lot with some strong women like my close friend and one of the founders of RHC, Jane Vongvorachoti. She always pushes me to be a better runner but also supports me as a friend so the miles just fly by!
What improvements could be made in the running world (online and offline) to support and encourage more women to get into running?
I think there are some great initiatives out there but more online and offline self defence classes could be a good idea! I saw such a class being offered in Fleet Feet in Denver and thought that it was such a great idea. It also means that more women meet each other when they attend the class and can organise runs with each other. I also think encouraging women from different backgrounds is a great idea. I am an Asian British woman and running is not really encouraged in our community so women can be hesitant to run. We could arrange for more inclusive, slower paced options in running clubs and more entries into races to get more women from diverse backgrounds into running!
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 feel totally safe during the day as my neighbourhood is a very popular area for runners due to a nearby river trail. However, I don’t feel very safe running after dark in my neighbourhood or anywhere really due to the dangers of this. I prefer to run in the morning for this reason. Sadly, I don’t think that females can be totally safe after dark as shown by recent events so just carrying a light or having pepper spray, isn’t really going to stop an attacker so sometimes you just need to find a safer option. Other options I have tried are to join a run club event, asked a friend to join me, or run on the treadmill. I also always carry my phone with me and tell somebody which route I am running each time. I would prefer being able to run whenever I wanted, but sometimes it is better to be safe.