Running – it’s not for girls

This wonderful government of ours really does seem to be trying to press the self destruct button as hard as possible doesn’t it? First we had the suggestion that sport should be used in school as a punishment, because of course the way to make children healthier is for them to associate keeping fit with being punished. Maybe they’re trying the trick of telling a child not to do something so they naturally will? Not the most intelligent idea I’ve ever heard.

Then the second amazing announcement was just yesterday from Helen Grant the minister for sport and equalities, a woman no less, that the way to get more women into sport was to offer ‘feminine’ sports like cheerleading and zumba.

I’ll let you digest that one for a second.

The person leading the governments efforts in sport and equality believes that women don’t do sport because we aren’t offering them enough ‘feminine’ ones. I’m not entirely sure what makes a sport more feminine than another, feels a bit like ‘girls should only play with pink things’ discussion in the parenting world.

Surely the solution to getting more women into sport is to give them the choice to find a sport that suits them. I love running and will always be an advocate for the sport and encourage people to take it up. But it’s not for everyone and if we are truly to become a healthier more active nation people need to find the sport they enjoy.

As a dad to an almost 3 year old girl I don’t want her to grow up thinking she should only do certain sports because it would be ‘unfeminine’ to do others. If she wants to do ballet then great, but equally great if she wants to join me on bike rides or runs through the muddy trails.

If the government really wants to help why not get more investment into sports facilities? If we stick with running for now how many of you live within even 10 miles of a running track that can provide a safe environment for children to learn about athletics? The Olympics has to have inspired a new generation to take up sport, would hate for those many billions of pounds to have been wasted.

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