Last Thursday, LUCA took part in the national ‘This Girl Can’ campaign with its Neon Rave Run. As noted by a spokesperson of the campaign, This Girl Can was created in response to research revealing “a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport”. To support the campaign, LUCA organised the girls only neon rave run, which involved a number of universities throughout London coming together in bright neon clothing and celebrating women in sport.
It started off outside St Paul’s Cathedral where we were met by a flock of buzzing girls with tonnes of neon paint tubes and glow sticks flying everywhere. There were a lot of bewildered faces from passers-by as we all inartistically applied our vibrant warrior paint. After loading up on paint and shoving glow sticks in our hair, we set off on our run alongside the river. There were people running at all different paces, some fast and some slower, but if you were trailing behind you still knew you were going in the right direction because there was a trail of lost glow sticks from the runners ahead.
The 6km route consisted of running along North Bank and getting a beautiful view of the London Eye, where a lot of us stopped to take photos. We ran past key London sites, including the London Eye, Big Ben, the Globe Theatre, and Tower Bridge, until we eventually finished by St Katherine Docks. Throughout the run there were various stops to do exercises like planks, squats, sit-ups, and burpees.
As well as the running and the exercises, one thing that cannot be forgotten is, of course, the music. Runners held speakers booming out power ballads including favourites from Abba, Rihanna, Cindy Lauper, and naturally, being a ‘This Girl Can’ event, Beyoncé’s ‘Who Run the World?’. There was an inspiring few minutes where everyone stopped outside the Tate Modern, no running, no exercises, just dancing and karaoke singing along to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will Survive’; the ultimate girl power moment of the night. Leilani Stacy, a student at LSE, commented that “it was really inspiring just to see all those women out there … and running around London was just so beautiful at night with such a big group, it was fun!”
Whilst I absolutely loved dressing up in bright clothes and lathering myself in neon paint, I have to say that the best part of the whole event was being in a large group of diverse women from different universities, all mingling and having a great time together. It was inspiring, empowering, and simply put, it was fun. I mean, when else do you get a group of 300 or so girls universally “woo”-ing every time they run through a tunnel?
Photo credit of featured image: Oliver Siddons