The Cardiff running club creating a new chapter during LGBTQ+ History Month

  • Video report by ITV Wales journalist Liam McConkey

A Cardiff running group is helping create new spaces for LGBTQ+ people to come together and be themselves.

Cardiff Foxes was created in 2021 and encourages members to keep fit while also meeting people and making friends.

The group was set up to offer an alternative to the capital's queer scene, which has traditionally involved drinking.

It comes during LGBTQ+ History Month, a time when people reflect on the history and future of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.

The group gives members an opportunity to keep fit but also provides a sense of community.

The Cardiff Foxes group meets weekly and completes laps around Cardiff's Bute Park. Runners of any ability are encouraged to join.

One member said they travel an hour from Chepstow every Sunday morning, just to take part because of the community draw of the group.

Cardiff Foxes founder Richard Lewis said combining fitness and community was a great way for LGBTQ+ people to meet.

"If we look to the past, it's always been very alcohol-centred," he said.

"Looking to the future, there are LGBTQ+ sports clubs everywhere popping up and actually offering a nice alternative outdoor, active group for the community is only going to be a good thing."

The group meet every Sunday to run around Cardiff's Bute Park.

The social element is a big pull for the runners, who stop for a chat and coffee after their run on nearby St Mary's Street. The central Cardiff road is known for having an LGBTQ+ presence, with venues like The Queer Emporium recently opening up and adding to the scene.

The café and shop opened in June 2021 and its founder, Yan White, said he is very proud of what his business has achieved in less than a year.

"I think the amount of impact we've managed to have on the city and the community, it's really heartening to see," said the emporium owner.

"To see the amount of things now happening across the whole city, like as a ripple effect, and essentially joining up the dots of what was already here but just trying to pull everyone together to bring in that sense of community and make more stuff just happen."

One of the emporium's workers, Sophie Squire, said she feels that she is adding to the city's LGBTQ+ culture through her job.

She said: "It does feel really special to be part of not only the history of this place, The Queer Emporium, but of Cardiff's LGBTQ+ community.

"I think we all feel like that here and all of our customers do as well, like we're living in history almost and making it ourselves."

The Queer Emporium opened on St Mary's Street in June 2021.

Both Cardiff Foxes and The Queer Emporium are helping offer a more diverse choice of queer spaces.

It is hoped that they, and similar ventures, will continue to increase the number of visible LGBTQ+ spaces - helping everyone feel accepted.