Q&A with Trojan Gordon
13 October 2020
Trojan Gordon is a youth and community counsellor. He also co-founded running group Emancipated Run Crew, with lawyers Jules and Denise Stephenson in August 2019.
Why did you start Emancipated Run Crew?
We wanted to create a safe space to encourage black people to take up the sport of running. We wanted a space where our lived experiences can be acknowledged, supported and celebrated.
Plus we wanted to be part of the change that aims to see running as more inclusive with a better representation of diverse communities, particularly black people. We believe that running should reflect everyone.
Why did you start running?
My co-founder Denise Stephenson encouraged me to give it a go way back in 2006. We used to go running before we went to work. It was the hardest thing I ever did physically, but once I got the bug I didn’t really stop.
What motivates you to run and encourage others to get involved?
I am a firm believer that we all should be mindful of maintaining good mental wellbeing, especially with the ongoing and at times traumatic events of 2020. Running can provide a gateway to good mental wellbeing and, if connected with a team, it can provide a good mental support system.
Running allows me to reconnect with myself both mentally and physically. As I have gotten older I realise the combined benefits of good mental and physical wellbeing and want more people within the black community to understand and enjoy the benefits too. As my parents and grandparents say, “health is wealth”.
How often do groups meet to run?
As a virtual community we mainly run when it suits us individually, however we do try to meet up once a month for a group run.
How has your running club been affected by Covid-19 and social-distancing rules?
Covid-19 has had an impact on our ability to meet and run consistently as a group, as we belong to a higher-risk ethnic group. However, we do meet up once a month for small group runs for those who feel comfortable in attending.
Celebrate You is all about running for your head and your heart. How has running helped improve the mental health of your running club members?
Running allows me to process difficult feelings like anxiety and bring my emotional level to a more manageable space. Within the group, it has allowed people to feel seen, heard, supported and celebrated as their authentic selves. Being part of a community where you are safe and seen a valued member helps strengthen your own resilience and sense of value. We champion our motto ‘Run Free’ as our desired state of mind and heart.
What would be your one piece of advice for a first-time runner or someone considering taking up running?
People are often worried about how they look running. Be kind to yourself with your inner thoughts when you run. People can often be too harsh on themselves and unfairly compare themselves to others.
Your own pace is good enough, allow yourself time slowly build up your endurance. Remember you are running for yourself and not anyone else.
You’re running the first-ever virtual Vitality London 10,000 this month – why should other people sign up and join you?
It’s a fantastic opportunity to get out in your local community and just walk, run or jog in your own pace on your own terms. Running is a gift to yourself and I would urge you to allow yourself to receive its benefits. You won’t be disappointed.
How can people get involved with Emancipated Run Crew?
For additional information please head over to our Instagram or Facebook pages: @emancipatedruncrew