Black Girls Run: More than a running club

5:14 PM, Jul 3, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A new movement is hitting the streets, sidewalks and running trails of Atlanta. You may have noticed the distinctive pink and black shirts, or heard the cheering circles around town.

Their purpose is as simple as their name: Black Girls Run!

"When you walk outside in parks, you do not see African-American women running," said Atlanta organizer Adrienne White.

"Black women traditionally have not exercised, and so we see all types of results of that: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure," she said. "So we are trying to change that culture."

It started with a blog in 2009. Since then, Black Girls Run! has spread to more than 60 cities nationwide. The first Atlanta run launched in April of 2011. In less than a year, Atlanta membership has grown to more than 5,000 members.

Now the groups are popping up everywhere: East Atlanta, Snellville, Dunwoody, Lithonia -- at least 30 groups across metro Atlanta with both morning and evening runs.

Each run begins with the same promise: no girl left behind. It's a BGR signature: every runner stays to cheer at the finish line until the last runner crosses.

"I saw BGR on Facebook, and I decided to come on out. I went to Piedmont Park and I tried to run three miles. It took me probably an hour and a half," laughed runner Bisa Ajanaku.

"But at the end, there were, I guess, 40 women cheering for me," she said. "I've been hooked ever since."

"People come out and they're like, 'I don't think I can do this,'" White said. 

"But then they get pushed by the group and they start achieving dreams that even they didn't think possible."

Black Girls Run! will host a 5K and 10K race September 16th. For more information about the group, visit their Facebook page.

You can follow Blayne on Twitter: @ReporterBlayne

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