Open letter to BGR!: My New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

By: Alisia Muir Open Letter to BGR! I began running in earnest in 2007 and ran my first marathon in 2008. Because I made the commitment to run longer distances, I had resigned myself to always being one of the few (if not the only) black women around. Then I stumbled across the BGR!  blog in late 2010 and thought, "Holy cow, other black women ARE out there?!" While I've never was able to join any of the BGR! local groups (to be read: I AM the black girl running in the town where I live), I knew that I could log on to my computer and get a daily dose of inspiration in my news feed. My opportunity to formally connect with BGR! would present itself shortly.  Fast forward to the weekend where the Saints spanked the natural behinds off of the Colts on Sunday Night Football (I am still shaking my head over that one). I turned on my computer on Monday morning to see that my ladies from BGR! had posted a coupon for $55 off the NOLA Rock and Roll (yes, the point spread that the Colts lost by...sigh). I jumped on it. I even talked a friend into registering too. As was most of my experience with running, I ended up getting ready for NOLA alone and would continue to get my doses of inspiration from BGR! One of my favorites is a guest post by Angel Taylor. I do my long runs with a copy of her story in my pocket. On 3/2 I boarded my flight to NOLA...yup, solo. I held no expectations for the weekend, except that I'd run my race. I met my first BGR! on Saturday at the Expo, I saw Ashley's mom (she was taking a picture of Ashley). She shook my hand and said, "Welcome." Ashley came over and introduced herself and made me promise to come to the meet and greet later that evening. Walking through the Expo was cool. Up until then, I'd been to dozens of them, but this one was different. BLACK women (many of them BGR!'s) were all over the place! A beautiful sight. Later that evening, I arrived at the meet and greet. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous as heck. But Gwendolyn (from BGR! Hampton Roads) took me by the hand and told me to join her. It was as if I was catching up with an old girlfriend. Monisha (BGR! Dallas) joined us and talked about how running had deepened her relationship with God. I got a copy of her book. Everyone ate and fellowshipped. The evening ended with pictures and more chatting with Ashley's mom. I walked back to the hotel with a BGR! that was running her first marathon. The next morning, I walked to my corral with another BGR! And 2 more BGR!'s took my picture before the race. I waited for the race to begin and ran mile 1 with Crystal (from BGR! Baton Rouge). Miles 2-12 were tough, but I was encouraged during every step, every single mile by a BGR! I got a smile, a "looking good, girl", "that's right, preserve the sexy," a wave, and more importantly, "keep moving!" Some of the BGR!'s on the course didn't have to say word (actually some of them were running so fast, they didn't have time), knowing that they were representing was all I needed to keep going. At mile 13, a BGR! was in the crowd cheering and told me to "run around the corner and get your bling, girl!" She gave me the boost I needed to haul tale across the finish line. I smashed  that course (in my opinion!). God is good! And I couldn't have done it without all of my sisters out there. Yes, the BGR! women are my sisters. - To my NOLA and Baton Rouge BGR!'s, thank you so much! Your hospitality was amazing. Your example is what this is all about. I will be back. - To Gwendolyn...let me know when you do your next Va Beach Race. I'd love to join you. - To Monisha, I read your book cover to cover (in one sitting). Thank you for reminding me WHY I run. - To Crystal, you WILL run that full. I can’t wait to hear how you do. - To Ashley's mom, you're right! BGR! is outstanding. It is so, because all the women involved are united and POSITIVE. I will return to my corner of the world (western TX), knowing that I am not alone anymore. Each and every one of you have left me inspired. I will now lace up my sneakers and know that I have thousands of sisters out there....hitting the pavement everyday and....preserving the sexy! Alisia Muir (El Paso, TX)



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