I can’t remember exactly how I came across Black Girls Run!, or BGR! for short, but I remember being so impressed and happy that I had found a group made just for me. Originally founded to bring together black girls who run, its mission now also addresses the obesity epidemic in the African-American community. The founders, Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey (who are also my sorors, skee-wee!), travel the country and talk about the health benefits of running. A large part of BGR! is its running groups all over the country. I belong to the DC group and I can run almost everyday of the week with a different set of girls! It’s awesome! BGR! will also be sponsoring its first race later this year in Atlanta.
Ashley and Toni sat down with Essence and answered some questions about BGR! and maintaining hair while exercising. Here’s a portion:
ESSENCE.com What made you start running? It has to start somewhere.
HICKS: I was a lifelong athlete. I played soccer my entire life and then afterwards got out of shape. When I started back working out it was with running. I have an older cousin who had always been a runner and she encouraged me to get into it. I tell everyone it takes a good two months of consistently doing it and then you’re hooked. I want that runners high.
TONI CAREY: Ashley was telling me about her running journey and at the time I had recently relocated to New Jersey for a new job and I was ending a horrible relationship. I needed to renew myself. I got to a breaking point where I knew I had to do better. I became a vegetarian and was like I gotta check this running thing out. I literally went and bought some shoes and just started.
ESSENCE.com: What about for those of us who feel we cant just start?
CAREY: One of the things we recommend is C25K which stands for “Couch to 5K.” It’s a beginner program that’s a run-walk method so you walk 2 minutes and run 3 minutes. That’s the easiest way for people to begin but I really think it starts before that. A lot of it is just mental. If you keep telling yourself, “I can’t do this. I’m going to pass out,” then you won’t be able to do it. You have to hype yourself up and say, “I can do this.” There’s no reason why I can’t.
If you’re not already running (black, white, green or whatever), I encourage you to start!