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. Group Runner

    I once swallowed an open safety pin and pooped it closed. That was kinda wierd. (source:SNL)

    April 29, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Superman

    @@@art of,,,explain to me why you think im a joke and a idiot troll im waiting if you change your user name than i know that you are running, please dont run i want some play time

    April 29, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Adonai

    Art: Philip has been engaged in conversation countless times, and gentle suggestions to him have been to no avail. The person who you should be addressing about conduct ishim. He does not appear to be here. People hhave disagreed with him; they have made their position known. It is fruitless to keep repeating the same thing over and over to someone who does not respect a dissenting opinion.
    Philip is free to state his opinions; people are free to either comment, or not. I had no idea there was a test being given here, and in any case, in the long run it does not matter what one personally thinks of another. It is the internet, and it is anonymous. I will not be quiet if I have something to say. If I have already said it, especially to a poster I have addresses previously, I will not keep repeating it, for there is no point; they have heard it and ignored it.
    Such is the nature of the blogs.
    I am tired. Good night, all.

    April 29, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Superman

    @@@art of conversation,,,how are you tonight? You are the one that responded to me,,if im a joke and an idiot then why are you responding to me

    April 29, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. raven (a poeem)

    When bliogging from here to there
    always raven beware
    her mind it is quick
    but she's still kinda hick
    makes me almost want to grow hair! 🙂

    April 29, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Superman

    @@@the art of conversation,,,yes you are here to play otherwise you would not be here now would you so you are here to play you are slow in responding so what is your point

    April 29, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Busted

      Be careful how you conduct your own damn conduct, because I notice that you are pretty judgemental yourself!!! Nighty nighty, Aphrodite! You didn't pass the test, TROLL!!!!!!! My nameKs Jim, by the way. What's yours?

      April 29, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Superman

    @@@dazzle c,,,superman here how are you? Nice to see you still going who is this AOC ? Anybody we know? Just text me if you know its ok here tell tori i say hi please,,,,suoerman here real superman

    April 29, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Busted

    AOC is a troll, trying to stir up trouble. Do NOT be fooled. He is trying to get people to talk trash about the other posters. In this, he is no better than any of the other trolls! Oh, yeah, and guess what? People taling to each other is called......wait for it......CONVERSATION! Hey, glad you passed the test, raven.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. raven (a poeem)

    Now, if Youuuu think someone is trolling raven, then you might just be a [whatever word you use to describe this sorta thing] I could be mean and wait till after tomorrow mornings regs who will pass by and post a thought or two. "The hell! I won't."-The Duke (RIP)

    April 29, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Scotty

      What's a poeem?

      April 29, 2012 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
    • raven

      Thank you for the poem, baldy. How bout a sonnet? A haiku? Limerick?

      April 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • raven

      Or, should I say sonneet, haiiki or limeerick?

      April 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Superman

    Never mind i know who AOC is now its tells time AOC your busted gotcha!!!

    April 29, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    Obviously you are philip. Again trying to provoke an arguement, ignore him superman, its not worth it. And i am under no illusions whatsoever that it would matter at all whether i quit posting here or not. And i DO post my political views, ALOT. GN all!

    April 29, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. aunt Banazi

    Philip! What are you doing up so late/early? And get yourself a decent screenname for crying outloud. Kirk out. -chrptpchrptpt- (dang it. keep forgetting to switch s/n's)

    April 29, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Snoopy (same Group runner swallowed open safety pin pooped closed)

    @(poeem) That's just not right as if Lucy were swayed by Pigpen.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Validation

    Sleep it off, Timothy.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. @Jim

    Long time, no see. Last time I saw you, you were impersonating a priest. Good night, Jim. Not your best effort, btw.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8