Exercise is healthy! Moving enough is important for everyone. Unfortunately, it is not so easy for many people. People from disadvantaged backgrounds, recent immigrants or undocumented people often experience barriers that prevent them from participating in existing sports initiatives. For that reason, we started Les Gazelles de Bruxelles in February 2013.
Why running? 4 reasons we believe in the strength of this sport:
1. Running is healthy
Running makes you fit. Running is the most effective way to work on your condition. No other sport provides such a rapid training effect. It relaxes, destresses, increases energy and quickly gives a sense of accomplishment. It increases a person physical well-being and their self-confidence. It has been proven that running releases neurotransmitters, ‘happiness hormones’. Running is even used as treatment for the blues or with more serious disorders such as depression and anxiety. A good habit of regular training increases the sense of initiative and of taking control.
2. Running is cheap
Running costs almost nothing. At Les Gazelles de Bruxelles there is no financial barrier to participation. There is no membership fee. For additional costs the runners pay depending on their financial means. Those with an income, pay their registration fee for races or a small fee for the T-shirt. People with no income pay nothing or make a symbolic contribution. Our organisation looks for sponsorship for the additional costs, such as registration numbers, trainers or running gear for those who need it.
3. Running is more fun together
Nothing is more fun than running together in a group. The strength of the group means you always put your running shoes on again. There is regularity, a shared goal, a common drive. While jogging you get to know other people in a spontaneous way. Running breaks through boundaries between people in a relaxed way and creates a sporty friendship. Les Gazelles de Bruxelles is diverse and multicultural, not segregated in categories but integrated. By also involving non-target group Brussels residents through networking, Les Gazelles promotes social cohesion and network expansion. Origin, culture, background, education and language are irrelevant when running. Sweating it out together, getting fit together!
4. Running puts you on track
Runners are stayers. Running teaches you that perseverance works and is satisfying in a simple way. The experience of success in running, the satisfaction after training or succeeding in a running race has a strengthening effect. Exercise makes people feel better. Training sessions on a weekly basis gives structure every day.
Translated to the target group, this healthy spirit is not misplaced. A person’s status, self-esteem and self-confidence is always damaged in one way or another by negative experiences from the past. Our audience has had to deal with a lot, has had many obstacles to overcome, has endured many testing times. Picking yourself up and looking forward, requires faith in one’s own abilities above all. Running makes a huge contribution to this.