The Black Girls RUN! Story
In 2009, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks created Black Girls RUN! in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners. The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. BGR! wants to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently, lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.
Running code name: The Dreamer
Running level: Intermediate
Favorite post workout food: Dinner. I love running in the evening when the sun is setting behind the trees and the sky is turning a pretty shade of blue. In television we call that “magic hour”. While I am running, I often think about what amazing dishes I can cook when I get home, or what leftovers I have. My absolute favorite post-workout dinner is black bean soup with extra cumin and Caesar salad.
Why you like to run: I run to talk to God. Some people pray while they drive or fish. I talk to God and meditate while running. It’s the best therapy session!
Your inspiration: I am inspired by older pictures of myself. I often remind myself how far I have come to get in shape, and I don’t want to go back to the “old Ashley”.
Most grueling run: In high school I was a star soccer player, and I thought I was such an amazing athlete. During the summer of my junior year, I decided that I should run with the cross country team during their summer training sessions. I pulled up to the Augusta Canal, tied my laces, and prepared to lead the pack in a nice summer run. To make a long story short, I ended that four mile run in last place, and I was lapped by the rest of the team. Talk about a reality check. To my credit being in soccer shape does not prepare you for distance running. But out of that valuable lesson, I learned about the mental and physical strength and discipline that runners have.
Running code name: Turtle
Running level: Beginner
Favorite post workout food: Pizza and sparkling water. Knowing I can eat pizza guilt-free motivates me to finish the last stretch of my run. Favorite pizza? California Vegetable Pizza at Ten Top in Norfolk, Va.
Why you like to run: I love the way I feel post-run. Although I feel like I need a full-body transplant, the sweat and adrenaline make me feel like I can conquer the world. I also think I look smashing in spandex.
Your inspiration: I used to work for a company that sponsors the wheel chair division of the ING New York City Marathon, as well as hosts the family reunion area for disabled athletes. After witnessing the heart and determination of these athletes, I was inspired. I mentioned running a marathon to my now husband and he encouraged me to go for it. He’s been my biggest fan!
Most difficult run: I ran 11 miles one Saturday morning. The actual run wasn’t the bad part. It was running around my neighborhood in circles. I wasn’t completely familiar with the area so I ran the same path at least four times. I lived near the center of town, which is pretty small, and I’m sure people were wondering who I was and why I kept running up and down the street repeatedly. I listened to “American Boy” by Estelle at least 20 times.
Awards and Recognition
2012 Power 100 List (Ebony Magazine)
10 Under 40 (JET Magazine)
The Grio’s 100 (The Grio)
30 Black Bloggers You Should Know (The Root)
35 Under 35: Young Black and Amazing Women (Essence Magazine)