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According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. When Ashley Hicks discovered that statistic, she wanted to take action and created Black Girls Run!, a website and support group for women to help each other stay motivated to lead active healthy lifestyles.

“When Black Girls Run! was created three years ago, I had just lost a considerable amount of weight, and I was getting tons of questions from friends and family about how I was staying in shape,” says Hicks a former soccer player and college athlete. “So my partner Toni and I decided to start blogging about our running and fitness experiences in order to share this information easily. Two year later, we launched the running groups and the movement caught on like wild fire.”

The movement that started in New York City has become a nationwide phenomenon. Hello Beautiful caught up with Hicks to chat about her motivation to stay fit and how Black Girls Run! Inspires other women to do the same.

On Starting Black Girls Run! Support Groups

When we initially launched the groups, we asked our readers if they were interested in starting a BGR! chapter in their area. The response was amazing, and from there we created our first 30 groups. A few months later, was launched a second round of groups. The success of the groups has been primarily word of mouth – members tell their friends, co-workers, family etc. The highlight of BGR! is definitely seeing how many lives we are impacting in a positive way.

On Finding Motivation

I’m motivated to stay in shape by the amazing support system I have with BGR! I feel like the groups help keep me accountable, and I always have fellow runners that I can turn to for a pick me up if I’m feeling unmotivated. I think that consistency is key to living a life of wellness. I try to encourage new members to think of working out as a lifestyle change. It’s not just something that you do to get in shape for an event – it’s something that you do to take care of your self for the rest of your life.

On The Future

Right now, we are preparing for our first official race, which will be September 16th in Atlanta, GA. This is a huge undertaking for BGR!, so we are focused on putting on a successful and fun race. We are also looking to increase our membership. Right now, roughly 25,000 ladies have signed up to join one of our groups. I would like to double that number by next year.

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