Tasha Thompson

Empowerment on the Run: How Black Girls Do Run UK is Changing Perceptions

Tasha will never forget the day Black Girls Do Run UK was born.

During a local race, Tasha and her soon-to-be co-founder, Linda, suspected they might be going off-course. Sporting full running gear and racing bibs pinned to their shirts, they approached a race coordinator for clarification. To their astonishment, the representative asked, “Are you running in the race?”

It was an unexpected question. “We had the bibs on, we were dressed as runners, we literally ran to her. Could it be she doubted us because we're two black women?" Tasha pondered.

"We had the bibs on, we were dressed as runners, we literally ran to her. Could it be she doubted us because we're two black women?"

Tasha Thompson

Founder, Black Girls Do Run UK

Tasha has been running since 1999. Born into a family familiar with the challenges of diabetes and hypertension, running was her preferred method to stay healthy and active. However, there were limited options to find a compatible running group. The internet was nascent and smartphones were non-existent.

Tasha ran solo for two decades competing in races across the United Kingdom. From 5ks to the prestigious London Marathon, she often raced without spotting another black woman.

Though she considered forming her own group during this time, she was met with skepticism. "Why do you need a group specifically for black women? There are plenty of elite black female runners," people would tell her. And that was the problem.

"As brilliant as it is to watch elite athletes, they can sometimes be intimidating. We all can’t run a world record time. It's easy for someone to feel, 'If I can't run at that level, maybe I’m too slow, don’t look like a runner and shouldn’t even try'," Tasha observed."

Tasha Thompson

Founder, Black Girls Do Run UK

Black Girls Do Run UK started to showcase of black female runners who weren’t on the podium. The goal was simple: demystify running for black women through shared stories and photos. "To me, it wasn't about creating something grand, but making a difference. To encourage more black women to lace up and embrace the joy of running," Tasha expressed.

Today, Black Girls Do Run UK isn’t just a concept. It's a thriving community with hundreds of black women realizing their running aspirations. The impact the group is making has far exceeded Tasha’s expectations. Earlier this year, 14 members joined the 50km Race to the Stones, a U.K. ultramarathon, and every single participant crossed the finish line.

Tasha uses Heylo to build  her community and streamline her communications. The group started on a Whatsapp chat, but they quickly outgrew it’s functionality and haven’t looked back since. “There's no feature that Whatsapp could offer to make me go back. From an organizational point of view, Heylo is a game-changer.”

Now Tasha’s community has a supporting membership where her members can give back to the community and help further the mission. Tasha was nervous to launch it, but has been touched by the generosity of her members, where over 50% now regularly contribute back.

Despite the profound impact of Black Girls Do Run UK, Tasha admits to occasionally feeling out of place. But, she never lets them stop her.

“My love for running is so deep-rooted now that almost nothing can deter me. Building that confidence took time, but now, there's hardly anything that can keep me off the track."

Tasha Thompson

Founder, Black Girls Do Run UK

You can find Black Girls Do Run UK on Heylo (https://heylo.group/black-girls-do-run-uk).