TheGrio's 100: Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, founders of Black Girls Run!

Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks are the founders of Black Girls Run!, a website that provides tips and resources for black female runners of all levels. The site launched in 2009 and has become a national movement, resulting in the creation of BGR groups of dedicated runners in more than 70 cities across the U.S.

Carey and Hicks, sorority line sisters from college, decided to get back into shape and saw running as a way to shed extra pounds. When Carey told her mother about her idea to run, her response was one of surprise.

“She sort of was like, ‘Running? That’s not necessarily a black sport, why would you do that?,’” Carey said.

That led to the birth of BGR. Carey and Hicks started the site to dispel that notion and encourage other black women to run in an effort to tackle obesity in African-American women.

Carey said she thinks the success of BGR comes down to the camaraderie in the groups.

“You have women that look exactly like you who are trying to do the exact same thing that you’re doing, or want to do,” Carey said.

Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks are making history… by tackling the obesity epidemic in the African-American community. Through their site and the groups created around it, there are countless success stories of women of all shapes and sizes putting their health first through running.

What’s next for Toni and Ashley?

Toni, who works in public relations, and Ashley, who works for a non-profit organization, hope to make the Black Girls Run! movement a full-time job for them, touring the country speaking and running with the BGR groups. They’ve launched a line of stylish BGR gear and plan to add more running groups and revamp their site.

In their own words …

Out of everything to come out of BGR, Hicks said the most rewarding part of it has been meeting the people who joined the movement. “To meet these people that you’ve had an impact on and realize that you’re actually helping people. It’s been an amazing experience for me,” she said.

A little-known fact about blacks and obesity …

About four out of five African-American women are obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information on Black Girls Run!, THE”>click here GRIO’S Q & A WITH ASHLEY HICKS AND TONI CAREY

From Ashley Hicks

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: In this next chapter of my life, I am focusing on spreading BGR’s mission and inspiring more African-American women to run.

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I like to think that I am an open book so if there is a little known fact, it’s that I am ambidextrous.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.” -Washington Irving

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: My mom and my grandmother inspire me most. I am also inspired by the stories of people who have overcome fear and challenges to accomplish their dreams.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: I’ve been blessed with several great mentors. Most notable was a boss I had when I was working at a TV station in South Carolina. He really invested in my growth and taught me a lot about working with people and excelling at my job.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

A: The best advice that I can give anyone who wants to achieve his or her dreams is to confront your fears and keeping pushing forward.

From Toni Carey

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: I want to continue to finds ways to increase Black Girls RUN’s influence in combating the obesity epidemic.

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I’m really into all things creative like sewing and knitting.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” -Margaret Thatcher

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: I believe that you can be inspired by anything or anyone. The trick is to be open to receive it. Everyone and everything has something to offer.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: My mother has been and continues to be my inspiration. She’s the most giving person I know and a woman of quiet confidence. Everyday I strive to be like her.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who’s craving to achieve their dreams?

A: Don’t share your dream with everyone. Not everyone will understand your dream, but it doesn’t matter as long as you believe it and live it. Your ideas and passions are sacred and should be treated as such.