There’s a huge misconception that black women don’t run. It was just over a year ago that Toni Marshall decided she was going to take care of her health and start running as a workout regimen. When she called her mother to share the exciting news, she said what many of our own moms might say: “black girls don’t run.” And Marshall did exactly what many of you Madames might have done: she called her girl. In this case, it was Ashley Hicks, her college friend and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sister, and they set out to squash that myth by starting Black Girls RUN!
“For whatever reason, a lot of people think that black women don’t run or workout regularly,” says Marshall. “Once we started Black Girl RUN!, we found that to be even more true. We’re usually one of few in running groups or at races.”
These ladies are starting a movement to not only change the face of the sport, but to encourage and motivate black women—and all women—to get active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. “We can make a lot of excuses as to why these numbers are the way they are, but excuses never solved an epidemic,” Hicks and Marshall say on their website, where you’ll find running groups around the country, recipes, and helpful tips about running.
Hicks and Marshall talked with us about how running has changed their lives and why sisters really shouldn’t worry about sweating out their hair.