Air Up There Run Crew

Air Up There Run Crew: Injecting Diversity and Inclusion in Hamilton’s Running Community

For many people, running is more than just exercise – it’s a way of life. It’s a chance to push their limits, clear their minds, and connect with like-minded individuals. This is why running crews have become increasingly popular in recent years. These groups bring together runners of all skill levels to train, support, and motivate each other.

The Birth of Air Up There Run Crew

One such crew is Air Up There Run Crew, which was founded in May 2019 by Moe and Brad in Hamilton, Ontario. The two were avid runners who had just moved to Hamilton from Toronto and London. However, they quickly realized that the running scene in Hamilton was lacking in diversity and inclusivity. They didn’t find a crew that reflected their social and running values, which left them feeling like something was missing.

Thus, Air Up There Run Crew was born. The name is an ode to the movies filmed in Hamilton, but it also reflects the group’s mission to elevate the running experience for everyone. Moe, a person of color, was specifically looking for a crew that represented what she believed in – a welcoming place for all runners, especially BIPOC folks.

Elevating Diversity and Inclusion through Running

The crew believes that running can be a vehicle for diversity and inclusivity. The group is anti-racist and anti-oppressive, with a focus on empowering Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Colour (BIPOC) in their community. They believe in running hard but also remember that it’s all for fun.

Community and uplifting one another are at the core of Air Up There Run Crew’s values. While many running groups focus on the solo experience, the group believes in the power of coming together to run. Through weekly runs and events, the group aims to address disparities in the running community.

In 2020, following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the group added a weekly Consciousness Raising run exclusively for BIPOC in their community. Inspired by the work of Black Women feminists in the 60s, the group aimed to create a temporary antidote to white-dominated spaces.

Community at the Core of Air Up There Run Crew’s Values

Air Up There RC started small, with a core group of runners in their first year. However, they hope to inspire more individuals in their community to join them as system disruptors. With a running approach based in anti-oppression, the group aims to create a space where everyone feels included, and no one is left behind.

The group meets every Saturday morning and Wednesday evenings exclusively for BIPOC, with their current meeting place at the café One for All. The group believes that running does not exist in a vacuum and hopes to continue building and disrupting for a more anti-racist and anti-oppressive Hamilton.

Running in Hamilton: A City of Natural Beauty and Racing Tradition

Hamilton, Ontario, is a city situated at the west end of Lake Ontario. It has a population of around 600,000 people, making it the third-largest city in Ontario. Hamilton is known for its scenic natural beauty, featuring the Niagara Escarpment and the Hamilton Harbour. It is also home to McMaster University and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Running in Hamilton is a vibrant scene, with plenty of trails and routes to explore. One popular spot is the Hamilton Waterfront Trail, which offers stunning views of the harbour and connects to the Bruce Trail. For a more challenging run, the Dundas Valley Conservation Area provides a hilly terrain and beautiful forest scenery.

For those interested in racing, Hamilton is home to the Around the Bay Road Race, the oldest road race in North America. The race takes place in March and features a challenging 30K course that attracts runners from all over the world.