April 28th, 2012
09:53 AM ET

Running group turns into nationwide movement

African-American women are joining forces to battle the alarming rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity that are affecting millions of Americans.

The movement is called Black Girls Run!, and it was formed to encourage women of color to get fit and live healthier lifestyles.

Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks are the creators of Black Girls Run! They wanted to drop some pounds and get in shape, but they soon saw their personal goals turning into a nationwide movement.

"I had no idea that Black Girls Run! was going to grow to be this size," Hicks said. "Toni and I feel really blessed and excited that we are able to help so many people."

Growing in size may be an understatement. Thanks to social media and word of mouth, Black Girls Run! now has 60 groups across the country.

The group's Facebook page and Twitter updates allow over 25,000 members to share their 'runavations' while inspiring others to overcome whatever obstacles they may have in order to exercise.

Before joining Black Girls Run!, Shahidah Hamlett of Washington lost 30 pounds using a combination of boot camp-style training, boxing and running. After seeing how women were keeping tabs on their mileage by posting their goals on BGR's Facebook page, she decided to jump in and join them.

"It encouraged me to attend standing runs and increase my mileage per week," said Hamlett. "I decided if I am doing this amount of miles I might as well train for a half marathon." In March, Hamlett saw her efforts pay off when she successfully completed the DC Rock n' Roll' Half Marathon.

The leaders of each chapter of BGR work diligently to register members for nearby races, hand out information about training plans, and offer guidance on where to find the best running gear.

BGR's ambassadors run the gamut. Everyone from seasoned ultra marathoners to people who are lacing up running shoes for the first time. The ambassadors exude enthusiasm for the ladies and their running journeys.

Meg Guilford, the BGR D.C. ambassador, is a former javelin thrower for Penn State's track and field team. Athletics has always been a huge part of her life, but Guilford's active lifestyle came to a halt two years ago when she experienced a massive multiple sclerosis attack that left her in a wheelchair for three months.

After spending the summer in a rehabilitation hospital, Guilford gradually went from the use of a wheelchair to a walker and then to a cane. Guilford says she is optimistic about her recovery. "I'm better than I was, but I think with the help of Black Girls Run! I can be better than I am," she said.

Ebony Adams was another newbie to Black Girls Run! The mother of two admits she didn't have much of a fitness routine. "Living in Washington, D.C., I would drive around and see people outside running," she said, "I would say 'that's not me, I can't do it.' In fact, I thought I was allergic to running."

A year later, Adams is a bona fide runner and can easily crank out 5 kilometers. "Running makes me feel empowered," Adams said.

Juanne Harris, a native New Yorker and active runner, says, "it's life-changing to see what it does for the women in the group. When someone comes to you and says, I can't believe I'm running, I'm asthmatic, or I lost 20 pounds and I've met my goal weight, it's inspiring."

Post by:
Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    Hey to my real twisted sistas! And happy birthday tori! Lmao and to the troll or trolls, BITE ME! I have a truck btw, not a car! But knock yourself out. And mary, we aint blamin you either. Dont think we dont notice that you get trolled just as much! 🙂

    April 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      Hello chrissy and dazzle

      Man it's been rough on here today. I've been keeping a low profile myself. Did TORI enjoy her birthday ? Wow, 20 years old. I can hardly remember that far back anymore.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ dazzle

    It went pretty well tonite. I'm getting ready to head to the house in about ten minutes. I'm glad you guys came on here before I left.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    lmao @ dazzle, just wait it gets better girl! Hey bobcat, did you get to watch the white house correspondence dinner on C-SPAN? Jimmy Kimmel was the host! It was freaken hillarious!

    April 29, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ chrissy

      No, unfortunately I was at work tonite. I really wanted to see that. But I'm going to say goodnite now. It's time to go home.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    lol good night dazzle and bobcat. And @ the art of conversation, the thread is all yours, good night and enjoy!

    April 29, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Adonai

    I see you are also skilled in the art of copy/paste. I can see no discernable purpose to this other to air your own belief system as to how a blog should be run, and to further instill a sense of paranoia into the already battle-weary blogging community. If this is your intent, you are no better than the people who would play stupid games to turn people against each other.

    April 29, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. Adonai

    I am afraid of nothing. I am just questioning your motives, as you just asked me why I didn't go to another blog. I choose this one. Why are you here? I understand the point you are trying to make, however, I feel that this blog may not be a good fit for you. I hope you find what you seek.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. raven

    Welcome to the boards, Art of Conversation. With all due respect, what would you have us do? We come here to share our views. You would have us leave personal things aside, but our views ARE personal. I dont pander to anyone.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    And i suspect that you are philip and i have listened to you until i am blue in the face. You post the most outlandish things ever and you really dont want an answer, you just want to insult someone who has the audacity to answer you. Im not playing ty!

    April 29, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    As for being naive, i know the people posing as my friends and posting the garbage above are NOT the people whose names they have stolen to post under. For instance MY first post in several days was at ll:20pm therefore YOU are the naive one.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    You too, Art of Conversation.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Superman

    This sounds like some kind of social reform stick were it counts MR ART OF

    April 29, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Superman

    @@@chrissy,,,come back,,, and to tori c HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRL it only gets better now

    April 29, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Superman

    Oh hi there troll how are you to night its nice that you came out to play so whats in the arena to night troll?

    April 29, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Also i have on many occasions questioned philips motives and have NEVER been afraid to speak my mind to him or anyone else. Sometimes its just detrimental to ones health to be around such negativity.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. raven

    Hello, dazzle, I was just getting ready to crash. I'm exhausted. Have a great night, everyone.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8