Woman Of The Week: Toni Carey & Ashley Hicks

by:  We Rise & Shine

Over the past few years, American society has become more health conscious as staggering statistics shed light on the detrimental eating habits and lifestyles that cause obesity and life-threatening ailments.   Several initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program and Beyonce’s recent venture, “22 Days Nutrition,” have been implemented to encourage fitness and nutrition, in addition to providing resources that aid in the development of a healthy lifestyle.   In 2009, two young women from Atlanta started a movement, which has grown into over a 150,000 members all over the country.  The movement which is winning the race to get African-American women is shape, is lead by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, Co-Founders of Black Girls RUN!

Toni, the Chief Pavement Officer, is a writer and entrepreneur at heart.  Toni loves the way she feels post-run, and the sweat and adrenaline makes her feel like she can conquer the world.  She was inspired by the heart and determination of the athletes she witnessed at her previous job, which sponsors the wheel chair division of the ING New York City Marathon.  Ashley, the Chief Visionary Officer, is a lover of all things creative and outdoors.  With a running level noted as “Intermediate”, she loves to run in the evening and thinks about cooking and what leftovers she has at home during her run.  But the primary motivating factor is that she runs to talk to God and meditate.

Toni and Ashley created Black Girls RUN! in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight or obese.  BGR! was launched with a mission to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently, lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Since the movement has been in existence, Black Girls RUN! has launched more than 70 Black Girls RUN! running groups across the nation.  In September 2014, Toni and Ashley were the first “Standing O-Vation” recipients, and were awarded this significant achievement at Oprah’s “The Life You Want “ tour stop in Atlanta.  The Toyota “Standing O-Vation” award recognizes extraordinary people who are making positive changes in their communities and inspiring others to do the same.  Winfrey and Team Toyota brand ambassador Amy Purdy honored Black Girls Run with a $25,000 grant from Toyota.

If you been thinking about improving your diet or fitness routine, don't wait another minute.  Get moving with Black Girls RUN! 

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