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Hey BGR! Nation & Family! Hoping you and your families are healthy and well considering all of what is around us and the current state of our country.

In recent weeks, BGR! Nation has asked our groups across the country to practice social distancing and to cancel runs at the discretion of our local group leads.

As of today to show a unified front and consistent message amongst all of our groups, we ask that ALL of our groups regardless of your current state mandates cancel ALL group runs - official and unofficial. ***This includes the 10 or less with social distancing rule.*** No BGR! group runs.

The more we learn about this virus and the more we do not know, we see it is airborne and we have no idea really how far away we need to be from each other. Six feet is suggested, but arbitrary. Our safest option is to stay home and run alone.

Again, all BGR! group runs (official and unofficial) are cancelled until further notice. We want everyone to live to race and run as a family again.

Even if you make your own personal choice to run in a group, we also ask that no group run pictures be posted to the Black Girls RUN! group pages as we think this sends a wrong message to the community as BGR! is a leader in the running community. We strongly support virtual challenges and solo runs until it is safe for all.

Let's all do our part - keeping all of us in prayer! We will make it through!

Thank you and continue to 'Preserve the Sexy' (solo)!

Hey BGR! Family & Nation! I hope this message finds you well in the midst of the chaos around us. It is important during this time to be vigilant and proactive in your personal, physical and mental health. 

COVID-19 has created a rapidly evolving environment where changes are being made quickly in the interest of public health. In the last few weeks, the World Health Organization has declared an international pandemic; travel from parts of the world to the U.S. has been extremely restricted; states across the country are curtailing events with large numbers of people attending resulting in numerous races being postponed/canceled. We advise you to monitor the status of any upcoming races you have. Please be patient and understanding with all of the races - everyone has been impacted. Our BGR! National calendar has changed as Selma to Montgomery has been canceled (returning in 2021) and the New Jersey Marathon has been postponed to November.

For our weekly community runs, we ask that you take precaution as well. Many of our groups have suspended runs until further notice. We advise everyone to stay home and proceed with solo runs at this time. Also, please adhere to the advisement of social distance and wash your hands frequently (sing Happy Birthday twice). The health and safety of everyone is priority.

From WHO “Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.”

We want everyone to be healthy, so please do your part! #blackgirlsrun


Hey BGR! Nation! We know you guys love some BGR! and linking up with women across the country! We have created THREE new subgroups within BGR! if you are interested in joining! Use this groups to network, learn about Ragnar, find teammates or roommates, share experiences and much more! 
 
BGR! Ragnarians (veteran and new Ragnar participants to share experience, find teams, etc.)
 
BGR! Sassy Seniors 60+ (our tried and true BGR! members active on the pavement)
 
BGR! Cruise Crew (old and new cruisers for those interested in attending future cruises/trips with BGR! members).

Twelve years ago, on a December night, I arrived at the emergency room suffering from severe abdominal pain. Prior to that night, I had suffered in silence for nearly 10 years with issues that affected my overall health and limited my ability to perform certain activities. From adolescence to adulthood, I experienced severe pain during my menstrual cycle. I felt like my body was working against me and that I had no control. The pain was unimaginable, and I felt like no one really understood what I was going through. Previous doctors dismissed the pain as bad menstrual cramps and told me to take pain relievers.

Arriving at the emergency room that night changed my life for the better. I was referred to a gynecologist that specialized in treating my illness, and he was truly a God send. I learned that I had an ovarian cyst and after weeks of waiting for the cyst to dissolve, the doctor scheduled me for a laparoscopy to remove the cyst. While I was in surgery, it was discovered that my condition was much more serious than expected. The simple laparoscopy turned into a more invasive procedure known as a laparotomy. My suffering finally had a name. Its name was endometriosis.

March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month, and during this time of year I reflect on my journey, and I educate individuals about this debilitating disease. According to the Endometriosis Association, endometriosis is a painful disease that affects approximately 6.3 million women and girls in the United States. It is a disease where the endometrial tissue that lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus. Some of the places these implants can be found are on the ovaries and fallopian tubes. These implants can cause severe pain during a woman’s menstrual cycle, and they can cause infertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 30% to 50% of infertile women have endometriosis. It is a very common medical problem that affects many women and girls, and many do not even know they have endometriosis until they try to conceive; therefore, awareness of the disease is crucial. Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include back pain, heavy bleeding during menstruation, urinary and bowel problems, painful sex, and fatigue. Many women go undiagnosed for approximately 7 years before ever knowing they have the disease.

The disease affected me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I soon discovered that running was beneficial to combating the symptoms of the disease, and it was also beneficial to my soul. This epiphany led me on a journey to running for my health. Running then became my medicine. Of course, I did not always have that mindset.

As a child, I didn’t see myself as a runner nor had a desire to run. I considered myself more of an academician than an athlete. I was that girl that knew the atomic number, symbol, and name of all the elements on the periodic table. Now if you would have asked me what the acronym PR stood for; I would have been clueless. The few times I did run were because I was required to in order to complete an assignment. That included running from base to base as a softball player and running during PE. Who remembers those physical fitness tests from middle school that included the one-mile run? Oh, the memories! I had family and friends who ran cross country and track but participating in that activity never crossed my mind. I think I let my fear of not being good enough keep me from trying.

Well on August 17, 2010, that all changed. I embarked on a journey that would eventually change how I looked at running. Days earlier, my dear friend and sorority sister, Anita, asked me to join her on a run. I was hesitant at first because waking up at the crack of dawn to go running in a park was not my idea of a good time. Well after much convincing, she finally got me out to the park on that August day. I don’t remember much of that day, but I am pretty sure I was out of breath and doing more walking than running. In spite of my distaste for the activity, I kept going back. After each running session, I began to like this newfound hobby. I then decided to train for my first 5K later that year. The race I chose to complete was the Turkey Burner which was a race held in Montgomery, Alabama. After I completed the Turkey Burner, I developed a taste for more. I joined Black Girls RUN! Montgomery, and I was training and racing all of the time.

Now 9 years, 30 races, and 17 medals later, running is a passion of mine. Running is my addiction, but it is also my medicine. When I run, my physical and mental health improves. With every drop of sweat, I imagine the toxins exiting my body. My body is being repaired and rejuvenated with each step. I also use this time to meditate and renew my mind, and I gain more clarity about my life. My mind, body, and soul are nourished, and it is a beautiful experience. Endometriosis may have intended to cause harm, but God used running to cause healing.

Join BGR! Nation for our March Virtual Run to bring awareness to Endometriosis! Registration is open now!

 

 


Ragnar Sunset Santa Clarita, powered by Black Girls Run!, is our newest racing format and it’s coming October 17, 2020. What makes the Sunset series different? A smaller, 4-person team, less mileage than a typical Ragnar, just one day of running, and a whole lot of festival fun.


Join the adventure, starting Saturday afternoon at Central Park, the crowned jewel of Santa Clarita, just an hour away from downtown Los Angeles. Teams of 4 will try to outrun the sun relay-style on a 3.3-ish mile loops two times each. Together you will run 26-ish miles - that's a full marathon! Your goal? Finish before the sun sets.

This cross-country course will take you up hills (we’re talking a couple hundred yards of climbing) on a mixed terrain of wide, smooth packed dirt trails. You’ll get amazing views of the city and mountain vistas, and at its highest point, you can see the entire valley including the Village festival. The course is challenging, but it’s perfect for runners of all experience levels. So team up with anyone from your running fanatic best friend to your grandma.

When you're not running, you’ll be hanging out with your friends and lots of friendly strangers at the Ragnar Village festival. Teams can even set up sweet hangout spots around the Village. There will be live music, food, games, a beer garden, on-site parking, and other amazing features.

Use code BGRSUNSET for $40 off registration!

Black Girls RUN! Baltimore invites you to #OptOutside!

Whether it’s recycling, walking to the store vs. driving, taking the stairs vs. elevator or bringing our recyclable bags to the grocery store vs. using plastic bags, our daily choices have an impact on our environment. When you come out to a Black Girls RUN! weekly run, the choice you make to be healthier also has an impact on your community! Choosing to go for a run empowers the social and community wellness of your environment. There is so much power in running, and Black Girls RUN! Is proud to be taking part in #OptOutside on November 29th to continue to bring awareness about how we are changing our community one step, one mile and one healthier life at a time! Join us!

We are just a little over 1 week away from Thanksgiving - a special time in the year where we gather with family and spend quality time. This time of year has also become a special time for our signature event, #OptOutside! BGR! Nation has partnered with our friends at REI to bring awareness to making big changes in the world through our small changes. We invite you to join us on Friday, November 29th for #OptOutside. We have cleanups and runs happening all over the country!

BGR! Chicago #OptOutside Feature: Meet Mary Castle-Enyard aka “Dancin’ Mary”

Dancin’ Mary has been a member of Black Girls Run! for 5 yrs. She is an outstanding Run Coordinators from Chicago.  She doesn’t just run, she also swims, bikes & dances hence the name “Dancin Mary”. During her group weekly runs she makes sure that all the ladies are safe, the area is well lit and free of debris. If not, she’s on the phone reporting the issues so the next time her group hits the pavement that it’s clean & safe. Dancin’ Mary is active in her community and encourages us all to be active in ours. Join Mary in Chicago on November 29th!

By opting to act, we can work toward a more sustainable future for all. As part of REI's #OptOutside, we want to highlight one of our awesome BGR! members who embodies this spirit in working toward the collective good! Meet Charise Stephens! 
Charise Stephens has been an active member of BGR! Middle GA since January 2014.  A single mom, she raised two kids (now adults) in Macon, Georgia. With the high health statistics of obesity, Macon’s youth Charise decided to spring into action to decrease those numbers. In 2018, and with no funding, she opened the first makerspace in the community.  She intentionally selected the historic Pleasant Hill neighborhood because she wanted the community to see the earnest investment in the youth.  
 Charise is the recipient of the 2000 Mother of the Year award for Central Georgia and even at that time, she turned her pain into action. Almost 20 years later, Charise still realizes there is a state of emergency losing our youth to violence on a daily basis and the need to help bridge the gap with the youth.  Charise’s motto is simple, “Give Kids Positive Things They Can Do”. In one year, she has successfully implemented youth programs such as a youth cycling group, mountain biking, kids market (kids get to keep 100% of their profits) literacy and mentoring, digital arts camp, girls only esteem programs, and many more outdoor adventures. Macon has kids that have never been out of the city and now they get a chance to travel throughout the state of Georgia.  Since the program’s inception, none of the kids have had major behavior problems at home/school... not even one!!!
 Charise is a humble servant leader and really utilize her relationships to make a change in the lives of hundreds of youths.  This one scenario sums up her passion for the kids. One little boy came up to her at the NICA meet and said, "Coach Charise, we are just like the other kids".  Keep in mind that with 1000 kids, only about 20 were black. We didn't have fancy tents or half of the other stuff that other teams had and our kids still felt like they were just as blessed as the groups and kids with the expensive items.
 In 2020, Charise plans to implement youth baseball/softball, swimming (beginning and competitive series), and a learning garden/outdoor lab. She also plans to continue being a Difference Maker one child at a time for as long as it takes to ensure the youth are prepared with the needed tools to become successful adults. Charise Stephens is an unsung community advocate! November 29th is just a few weeks away! How are you going to Opt to Act?.
Black Girls RUN! is taking it to the pavement as we usually do this year on Friday, November 29th. In some worlds, this day - the day after Thanksgiving is a day we raid the mall and stores to start our Christmas shopping, BUT this year (and for the last five years), we are ditching the stores and heading outside! #sponsored
The #OptOutside campaign is the perfect campaign as it embodies all that Black Girls RUN! stands for - community, health and fitness! We join in with REI  on this campaign because of our members! Our members inspire us to opt to act - whether its going for a run, giving an encouraging word to a member, picking up trash along our route or choosing to enjoy the outdoors after Thanksgiving dinner!
Each day we have the opportunity to change the world by taking small steps (no pun intended!) in the community, neighborhood or block that we live! So, what can you do this season to change your community? Organize a neighborhood run/walk, yard sale, trash pick up day, or say a kind word to a neighbor!
Let us know what you plan to do to Opt to Act and #OptOutside! We have groups across the country organizing run, trash pick up events, running shoe donations and much more! Check back often to see more locations added.
1. Atlanta
POC: Sierra Grigsby: sgrigsby@coca-cola.com
November 29th, 8:00 A.M., Cochran Mill Park, 6875 Cochran Mill Road, Palmetto, GA  30268

2. San Fran Bay Area
 Mission Peak. November 29th at 7:00am Fremont, CA
POC: Aretha Hampton, ahampton72@att.net
3. Central Jersey
POC: Ingrid Trotman  bgrcentraljersey@gmail.com
8am Rosedale Park 
424 Federal City Rd
Pennington, New Jersey 08534
4. Chicago
Vollmer Grove, Vollmer Road west of Crawford Ave.
7am
POC: Kelli Rockwell kpr710@gmail.com
5. Inland Empire
POC: Ayrika Moxley ayrikasf@hotmail.com
Mt. Rubidoux/Ryan Bonamino Park, Riverside, CA - 7am
6. Sacramento
POC: Noel Roberts, Laker4life@comcast.net
Garcia Bend Park 7am
7. Fayetteville, NC
Cape Fear River Trail
445 Treetop Dr
8:00 AM
POC: Sonoyia Largent sonoyia.largent@hotmail.com
8. South Jersey
POC: Janessa Jones janessaj@msn.com
Laurel Acres Park, (1045 S Church St, Mt. Laurel,  NJ) at 9 am
 
9. Charlotte
POC: Wendy Berry, wmmccall29@yahoo.com
Trader Joe's
1820 East Arbors Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Time: 7 am
10. Jacksonville
POC: Tonisia Billups, tonisia1015@comcast.net
6:15am Baldwin Trails 2 Imeson RdJacksonville, FL 32220
11. Baltimore
POC: Buffy Holmes buffyhholmes@gmail.com
What: BGR! Baltimore Plogging 5K
When: Friday, November 29, 2019
Where: Gwynns Falls Trail, 3301 Waterview Drive Baltimore, MD 21230
Time: Meet at 8:45AM; Takeoff at 9am
12. Los Angeles
Opt Outside to the Hollywood Sign 
7-10am
Innsdale Drive Trail to the Hollywood Sign:
Innsdale Trail, Los Angeles, CA 90068
POC: Nancy Fernandez naniipu@aol.com

 

13. NYC
Bronx Meeting Location:  161 St and River Avenue, Bronx, New York 10451
9am
Distance 3-5 miles. All Levels Group Run.
POC: Gisela Perez, giperez03@optonline.net
 
Brooklyn Location: 9am All Levels Group Run
Brooklyn in the train station @ Eastern Parkway Station stop on the 2/3 train lines.   It will be an out and back timed run.  20 minutes out and 20 minutes back.
POC: Ethel Wilson, divineorder57@gmail.com
 
14. Montgomery
3 miles at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, AL at 8am followed by Adopt A Mile to clean on Edgemont Avenue or East Delano whichever is approved by the City of Montgomery
POC: Lori Burks/Shamarick Paradise shamarick@gmail.com
15. Columbus, GA
POC: Kenya Willis willis_kenya@yahoo.com
Location: Manchester Park and Ride
11/29 @6am 
5K glow run
16. Columbus, OH
Location: Sharon Woods Metro Park
Address: 6911 Cleveland Ave, Westerville OH 43081
Time: 8am
POC: Cheralee Cherrie Calhoun cheralee@yahoo.com
17. Winston Salem
Friday, November 29th at 7am at Gateway YMCA 1300 S. Main Street Winston-Salem,  NC
POC: Aisha Washington: aisha0402@gmail.com
18. Middle GA
Wells Fargo, 1125 GA 96, Kathleen, Ga @8am. We will walk along hwy 96 and pick up trash.
POC: Renee Houey houeyt@hotmail.com
 
19. Richmond, VA 
POC: Karen Anderson ahealthierdirection4u@yahoo.com
Dorey Park 8am, 2999 Darbytown Rd Henrico, VA 23231
20. St. Louis
O’Fallon Park 799 E Taylor Avenue St Louis, Mo 63147.  9 AM.
POC:  Cyeria Jackson cyeria_qualls@yahoo.com
 
21. Hampton Roads, VA
Bennetts Creek Park, Suffolk, VA
POC: Saundra Johnson, sljohnson@appleone.com
 
22. Detroit, MI
POC; Maria Beth Stanfield neda0606@aol.com
Southfield Police Department at 5am. The address is 26000 Evergreen Rd., Southfield, MI 48076
 
23. Long Island
POC: Jennean Rogers jenneanrogers@gmail.com
8:00 A.M. at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY.
24. Columbus, OH
Shaker Heights Middle School
20600 Shaker Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122
7:30am
POC: Teresa Sayles  blackgirlsruncleveland@gmail.com
“We can do better for future generations.
We must act now.” Eric Artz, REI CEO

Every year I look forward to my two favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. A great time with family, friends, schedule slows down and good food. Did I mention, good food? But, each year Thanksgiving seems to be cut super short by the madness of Black Friday. And, I have to admit I have been caught in a line or two camping out with hundreds of others, trying to get one of those 7 televisions! LOL!

But, in recent years, Black Friday has become too crazy for me and I have been wanting that feeling of getting back to family, community and what matters most!

So, BGR! Nation is excited to be teaming up with REI again for #OptOutside. REI is again shaking things up with its #OptOutside, and is closing all of its 150+ stores and paying all 13,000+ employees to take the day off, because Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with the people you love, in the places you love! This year they are taking it a step further and encouraging us to Opt to Act by kicking off a year long campaign to change the way we view the world we live in, but taking a pledge to take simple actions to reduce our impact, get active and leave the world better than before.

This Black Friday (November 29), our wallets are taking a rest day and we will be outside enjoying nature and enjoying life. We will have planned events in several cities across the country, so be sure to stay tuned to attend an event near you! 

For more information, to sign up for a clean up event or share how you want to help change the world, please visit: https://www.rei.com/opt-outside.



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