Magic City Post: Ladies of Black Girls RUN! find their inner hero

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hey, babes! Check out my latest article for Magic City Post. 


Runner Olivia Affuso has completed a 50K North Face Endurance race, she’s an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and she has a Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Yet, even with all those accomplishments, she says one of her proudest moments is actually starting a local running club called Black Girls RUN!
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 45 percent of African-American adults are obese. Black Girls RUN! is a grassroots effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community by providing encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners.
“My goal as a researcher has been to find ways to help individuals become more physically active and reduce their risks of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” Affuso said. “This has been a difficult proposition in the past, but there is something about the BGR social running movement that just motivates our women to get moving.  And I think it’s group identification - seeing someone that looks like you doing something active.”
The Birmingham group is a spinoff of a larger grassroots effort which began in New York City in 2009.  Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, the founders of the NYC group, have seen the organization spread into 29 states and the District of Columbia.  Affuso contacted them last August about starting a Birmingham chapter. 
Jeralyn Powell, an active runner since 2008, joined Affuso and together they launched the Birmingham group that same month hosting its first run on August 20.
Currently, Black Girls RUN! Birmingham has over 800 women signed up for its Facebook group and has accomplished a lot in its short lifetime. The group had eight teams participate in the Mercedes-Benz Marathon Relay and at least another five members who completed the Mercedes Half Marathon.

You can read the complete article at Magic City Post


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