August 23, 2012 1 Comment
I’m a runner. Yep one of those people who thinks that half-marathons are better than sleeping in on a Sunday morning. About 18 months ago a I helped to launch the Atlanta chapter of Black Girls Run! Our first run started from Big Peach Running Company (love them!) with 11 women on April 22, 2011. Today, we’ve got nearly 50 group runs a week in the metro Atlanta area, servicing approximiately 7,000 women. (On facebook, our group page has over 9,000 women; however, I assume that some don’t physically live in the metro ATL area).
We’ve gotten all sorts of reactions. Shortly after the December issue of Runner’s World, which ran a feature on African-American’s in long distance running, including the photo below. Post run, a group of us would be at a breakfast spot and other runner’s would approach us with, “Were you in Runner’s World?” We smile profusely and say, “Yes, that was us!”
Unfortunately, some of the reactions aren’t always as welcoming. When people ask, “Is it only for black women?” My response is…NO. The CDC statistics report that 4 out of 5 black women is overweight or obese. Healthy and active living has not been a cultural priority among African-American women. When I state this fact to non-blacks, they have surprised look on their face. I tell them to scan their memory for about 5 black women that they know. Then the statistic resonates – yes, the majority of African-American women that they know are not living active, healthy lifestyles.
Then I proudly state that this is the 1st time in America’s history in which black women are taking ownerhip over their health and making fitness a priority. And you don’t have to look like tiny ol’ me to do this. You can be you, right now and make changes toward a healthy, active life. BGR is more than a running group, it becomes a support system and network of like-minded, encouraging women.
When we started this journey of building the Atlanta chapter, we never imagined the success. Personally, I was excited to run with more people. But in a leadership role and seeing the group evolve, it has turned into more than a running club. I’m inspired constantly. I’ve witnessed women lose over 50 pounds. I’ve cheered countless of women over the finish line on their first half marathon, 10k or 5k. I’ve seen friendships blossom. I’ve seen women make better decisions about eating. I’ve seen women with little confidence transform into fit and fabulous divas.
This clip from the local new station captures what I often can’t explain to people about the awesomeness that is BGR! ATL: http://www.11alive.com/rss/article/247148/13/Black-Girls-Run-More-than-a-running-club
Currently, I’m recovering from a July 23rd, 2012 abdominal myomectomy, so it’s been a month since I hit the pavement. But I’ve made it a goal to make 2013 an amazing fitness year. I want to push past my fitness comfort zones. So I think this lil’ blog will help me chronical that!