We ask adidas Runners Manila captain Nikki Torres how she makes safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in sports
Though Pride Month is ending soon, support for the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t end with it. However, our country still has a long way to go before this community is fully accepted and not simply tolerated. The sports industry is one such scene that can feel intimidating for queer folk to enter, that’s why changemakers and advocates like Nikki Torres are appreciated.
Nikki is a holistic wellness coach, yoga teacher, and adidas Runners Manila captain. Last year, she also headed adidas’ Purpose Project called Limitless, which is, in her own words, a holistic running program for the LGBTQ+ community. With that, we asked her what her approach was for helping to make this happen, and what drew her to this advocacy.
She said, “Creating safe spaces start with making every person feel seen, heard, and understood. And in order for this to happen, the setting should be small enough so that people get to enjoy an experience that feels personal to them, [and] big enough for it to feel like a community strong enough to support all of its members.”
Nikki went on to say that adidas Runners Limitless was born out of a conversation with people from the queer community as to what keeps them from doing things like signing up for a gym membership or joining a run club or even just taking a group exercise class. Cementing the point, she said, “I have personally experienced forms of microaggression for simply being a queer woman and so I understand the need for spaces that celebrate every person’s individuality.”
Finding your tribe
Nikki admits that her advocacy benefits her, too. She shared that one very selfish reason she loves building communities around things she’s passionate about is that she gains so many new friends. That said, she thinks the same goes for everyone who chooses to take part.
“The beauty of having a community is that there’s mutual respect for the space and energy we are trying to create and also protect, and therefore, feels like everyone pitches in to make sure we all feel comfortable,” she explained.
To add, she thinks it’s amazing to see how, outside of their sessions and meetups, they all continue to build their relationships with each other and become friends that hang out. “They try different sports together, go to different events together, and so much more. It’s really the lasting friendships that make it all worth it for me,” she shared.
As a result, Nikki definitely recommends others to join adidas Runners Manila to feel more welcome in sports. She said that as captain, she made it a promise that every person—regardless of age, gender, fitness level, and background—would feel seen, understood, and respected. Beyond her, she said the whole team behind this group upholds this same promise.
“We’re made up of dedicated and passionate people who also believe in providing equal access to sports,” she mentioned. According to Nikki, adidas Runners does not only focus on running, but they also hold strength sessions, mobility, and yoga. Additionally, they hold forums and other events that make it a “truly holistic experience” for the members.
“We are also holding the third season of Limitless in October this year. Announcements for registration will be made closer to the date, so please make sure to join the adidas Runners Manila FB group for details,” Nikki advised.
Featured Image: NIKKI TORRES (via Instagram)