Fight to end shocking inequality in Essex Championships - Women's Running

Fight to end shocking inequality in Essex Championships

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  October 20, 2021

After witnessing inequality at the Essex 5000m Championships, Ali Trauttmansdorff set about pushing for equal recognition of women runners

On a warm summer evening earlier this year athletes up and down the country were enjoying a return to racing at the Essex 5000m Championships at Melbourne Stadium, Chelmsford.

Ahmed Abdulle of Ilford AC took first place in an exciting men’s race, while Rachel Wiseman of Basildon AC put in an equally impressive performance to win the women’s race.

Afterwards, along with his medal, Ahmed was presented with an impressive silver trophy dating back to 1901, with the names of all previous winners engraved on it. Rachel Wiseman only received the medal.

Ali Trauttmansdorff, GB triathlete, had competed in the womens race and was struck by the stark contrast in the two presentations. Discussions took place in a number of clubs about the undoubted prestige and history that the trophy brings to the men’s race, and the need to so something to bring that same level of prestige to the women’s race and start building an equally valuable history.

And so the idea of a fundraiser evolved to raise money to commission a unique trophy for the women’s race. The new Essex trophy secretary, Susan Edwards, saw the real value that a trophy can bring to athletes when Ahmed brought the men’s trophy down to his club, Ilford AC, and posed for photos with previous winners. It provided inspiration for all the young men who were training that night. But the women racers just don’t have that same opportunity: yet.

Cassidie Alder, a woodcarver based in Lewes, has been approached to be involved and is very interested in working on the project. The aim is to create something unique, that future winners can share with their clubs and training groups.

You can check out the fundraiser here if you want to support this cause.

Donations have already started to come in, and there are fundraising events in the pipeline, too.

We hope that, with the support of athletes and clubs, especially those based local to Essex, the trophy can be ready for next summer. If you want to get involved in supporting this cause then please contact [email protected].

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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