The fitness community encourages exercise and dispels myths.
After battling eating disorders for years and seeing how their misinformed community accepted unhealthy lifestyles, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks created Black Girls RUN!, an online hub that motivates African-American women to get out and get fit by joining nationwide races and, in turn, lowering their risks for chronic illnesses that plague the black community.
"We are the first to admit that we haven't always been immune to societal pressures and the constant bombarding of images of svelte models and voluptuous video girls," Carey and Hicks write in the Huffington Post. "And we're all too familiar with not only being overweight, but the psychological toll of being overweight and the struggle to lose it. But we both knew that we didn't want to succumb to the same obesity-related diseases and illnesses as many of our family members had, nor continue down a path that was physically and emotionally unhealthy."
The two women started Black Girls RUN! as a way of tracking and sharing their own health journeys in running, but it eventually evolved into a support system for more than 60 running groups throughout the country, ranging from beginners to the most experienced runners.
"Even with the amount of progress that we've made thus far, we know that our work just doesn't stop here," Carey and Hicks add. "Our goal is to truly create a movement that will introduce running to women who thought that they never could."
(Photo: Black Girls RUN!)