Yes, Black Girls Do Run
Madame Noire: Tell us about yourselves outside of Black Girls RUN! ?
Ashley Hicks: Outside of Black Girls RUN!, my life mainly consists of working. I am a freelance producer and editor, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time clicking a mouse and staring at a computer screen. When I get some free time, I like to go shopping, cook new recipes and spend time outdoors. Toni is a newlywed. She just relocated to Virginia Beach, and right now she is consumed with checking out her new ‘hood, looking for a job, decorating and trying out new vegetarian recipes on her husband.
MN: Were you both always avid runners?
AH: No. I was a competitive soccer player for about 13 years, and went to college on a soccer scholarship. I started running a few years after I stopped playing because I wanted to get back in shape.
MN: What do you love about running?
AH: There are so many things that I love about running. However, the three things that top the list are the sense of accomplishment I feel after a long run or a race, stress relief, and working out makes me feel less guilty about eating ice cream or going out for cocktails.
MN: I saw your Facebook page had a post about the best music to run to–what is your list of top five songs?
Toni Marshall: Right now, “Steppin Up” – M.I.A. and “Tightrope (Wondamix)” – Janelle Monae feat. B.oB. and Lupe Fiasco.
AH: I don’t necessarily have a top five list of songs, but I do have a group of artists that I keep in constant rotation. That list includes Drake, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Kanye West and T.I. Right now, “Blowing Money Fast” is my go-to song to get me amped for my runs.
MN: Since you started Black Girls RUN!, how has your body changed?
AH: When I started running, the goal was to lose weight. So, over the course of about four months, I lost about twenty pounds. Since then, running has helped me maintain that weight loss. I am also a lot more toned. About a year ago, I remember looking in a full-length mirror with a pair of heels on and realizing for the first time that I had toned calf muscles. I was so excited that I took a picture and emailed it to my family and friends. The subject was: “Check out my hot legs.”
MN: What other changes has the physical act of running brought to other areas of your life? Mentally? Emotionally?
AH: I think the greatest change is to my mental health. Running has become my way of dealing with stress. I used to be an emotional eater. Now, I try to channel any anxiety, stress or nervous energy into my running. It is a positive way for me to clear my head and relax.
MN: Have you heard any really inspiring stories about women who have been a part of Black Girls RUN!?
TM: We have one follower who also happens to be our line sister. We’re constantly amazed at her hard work and dedication to become healthy and fit. She has even inspired us to do more. I think she’s lost more than 50 pounds and is now teaching spin classes at her local gym.
MN: You knew this one was coming: black girls running + black girls sweating = black girls worried about their hair. What do you suggest?
TM: Stop worrying about your hair and worry about your health. End of story.
AH: I am always encouraged by black men who tell me that they would much rather have a girl with a hot body and bad hair than vice versa.
MN: What has been the best part about creating Black Girls RUN! so far?
TM: I think that we both agree that the success of Black Girls RUN! really surprises us. We constantly get emails thanking us for what we do. We totally didn’t expect that when we got started. The best part is seeing how one tiny idea encourages and inspires women to take control of their physical, mental and spiritual health.
Follow Black Girls RUN! on Twitter @blackgirlsrun