FRIDAY FEATURED FRIEND
For years I have been teased for my love for running by other black women.  "Black girls run track but they don't run past 2 or 3 miles. . .are you crazy? What are you trying to prove?" Truth be told,  I just love running and it's kept me in amazing shape over the years.   I learned quickly that I needed to stay in shape because I have watched women in my family battle with high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer and even heart disease.   Yeah, I'm crazy and I know that running beats the alternative.  So, you have to understand my excitement when I stumbled across these three little words "Black Girls Run" in the October issue of Essence magazine. . .I could not believe that someone develop a group made strictly for Black Girls who RUN! 

This week I want you to meet one of the amazing women behind this movement and it really IS a MOVEMENT. . .Ashley Hicks, co-founder of "Black Girls Run".  Along with Toni Carey, these two women made a commitment to get Black Girls to RUN and encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority in their lives.  Why? According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. . .80% and BGR! is ready to change that one running step at a time.

Ashley, when did you get into running?  I played soccer in college and there was a lot of running involved.  Soon after I finished playing soccer I continued to run.  It started with a couple of miles everyday and after a year or two I decided to run my first 1/2 marathon.  The 1/2 marathon has become my favorite event.  I've run the Chicago Marathon, the Rock n Roll New Orleans and many others over the past few years.  Black Girls Run has become so popular that Women of Color  have joined Toni and I by the 100s from all over the country.

What would you tell other Women of Color when it comes to running?
Black women must take care of themselves.  Exercise is the best way to prevent many diseases and stop obesity.  Running is a great stress reliever, it can be spiritual and help clear your head.  Running is a great way to be a part of a group or for you to get some "me" time.  Running can easily spill over into other aspects in your life for the better.  Once you start accomplishing goals in running, you can accomplish just about anything in life!
What inspires you? I am inspired by older pictures of myself.  I often remind myself how far I have come to get into shape and I don't want to go back to the "old Ashley".



BlackGirlsRun.com is a great way to get connect to BGR! running groups allowing you to join forces with other BGR! members in your area. Find a daily running partner, race and volunteer together or just make new friends.  GET INVOLVED and be a part of this amazing movement for women of color!

Ashley, it was great meeting you and keep doing what you are doing to influence all women to stay healthy and RUN!

Get your Black Girls RUN! t-shirt
http://www.blackgirlsrun.com/gear/

Follow Black Girls Run on FACEBOOK!
http://www.facebook.com/BlackgirlsRUN

Happy Running and Get out there!