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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Black Girls RUN! and meet in Charlotte
The BGR! National conference kicks off Sept. 6
Published Friday, September 6, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

The Black Girls RUN! Sweat With Your Sole Conference and Race will be held this weekend in Charlotte.

The two-day conference kicks off Friday with a series of interactive workshops, speakers and classes on running, health and nutrition. Two runs–covering 5 and 10 kilometers each–will be held Sunday.

“We are excited to host our second conference and race weekend in the Queen City,” said Black Girls RUN! cofounder Toni Carey. “Not only is Charlotte home to one of our largest groups, the city has so much to offer in terms of entertainment and attractions to make it the perfect place for a girls’ weekend.”

Carey and Ashley Hicks launched the national running group in 2009, and since then Black Girls RUN! has grown to include more than 69 running groups with more than 61,000 members.

Carey and Hicks created BGR to combat the obesity epidemic among women in the African-American community and dispel the myth that black women do not run.

BGR groups include both beginner and experienced runners and provide a support system to help members reach their fitness goals. Despite the name, membership is open to all women, regardless of race.

Last year’s BGR race and conference was held in Atlanta and attracted more than 3,500 men and women.

“This event will be bigger and better than last year,” said Hicks. “We’ve added an additional day of workshops, a larger expo, a broader range of activities and well-known speakers. We also have a few special surprises.”

Former Olympian Marion Jones is the keynote speaker for Saturday’s sold out “BGR! Experience: Sexy Preserved” celebration dinner at the Westin Hotel in Uptown Charlotte.

The track-and-field star was once hailed “the fastest woman on the planet.” After a drug scandal cost her the five medals she won during the 2000 Olympics, Jones started Take a Break, a program that encourages young people to stop, step away and think when they are faced with a difficult decision.

As a public-speaker and published author, Jones shares her life story and openly discusses real life issues that we all face: learning to grow through pain, making tough decisions, overcoming failure and discouragement and applying practical principles for personal and spiritual growth.

“We are more than excited to have Marion Jones join us for our second Black Girls RUN! National Conference and Race Weekend in Charlotte,” said Hicks. “Marion has committed her life to inspiring others to achieve their personal greatness while overcoming challenges, as she has.”

Other workshops for this year’s conference fall under the theme “Running from You: Embracing your Flaws, Fears & Frustrations.” They will focus on helping women confront the issues that hold them back by exploring what can be gained by losing weight, excess baggage, fear of failure and the negative things and thoughts that prevent them from achieving their goals.

Panelists and workshop leaders include “Braxton Family Values” reality-TV star Traci Braxton, fitness advocate Sondra E.Z. Hines, Novant Health Sports Medicine athletic trainer coordinator Felicia White, Eyewitness News anchor Tenikka Smith, Dynamic Touch Message & Fitness director Gerrard Miller, vegan lifestyle coach Shabaka Amen, Cheryl Silver Emanuel, a public health administrator, and author and fit foodie Davida Jackson, who was chosen to workout in the Trish Andrews Fitness DVD after losing 30 pounds in less than six months.

For all “Sweat With Your Sole” conference and race updates, visit BlackGirlsRun.com. You can also follow BGR on Twitter @BlackGirlsRUN and Instagram @officialblackgirlsrun, or use the hashtag #SWYS13. 


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