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:
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,
3. Central Jersey
POC: Ingrid Trotman
8am Rosedale Park 
424 Federal City Rd
Pennington, New Jersey 08534
4. Chicago
Vollmer Grove, Vollmer Road west of Crawford Ave.
POC: Kelli Rockwell
5. Inland Empire
POC: Ayrika Moxley
Mt. Rubidoux/Ryan Bonamino Park, Riverside, CA - 7am
6. Sacramento
POC: Noel Roberts,
Garcia Bend Park 7am
7. Fayetteville, NC
Cape Fear River Trail
445 Treetop Dr
8:00 AM
POC: Sonoyia Largent
8. South Jersey
POC: Janessa Jones
Laurel Acres Park, (1045 S Church St, Mt. Laurel,  NJ) at 9 am
9. Charlotte
POC: Wendy Berry,
Trader Joe's
1820 East Arbors Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Time: 7 am
10. Jacksonville
POC: Tonisia Billups,
6:15am Baldwin Trails 2 Imeson RdJacksonville, FL 32220
11. Baltimore
POC: Buffy Holmes
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 
Innsdale Drive Trail to the Hollywood Sign:
Innsdale Trail, Los Angeles, CA 90068
POC: Nancy Fernandez


13. NYC
Bronx Meeting Location:  161 St and River Avenue, Bronx, New York 10451
Distance 3-5 miles. All Levels Group Run.
POC: Gisela Perez,
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,
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
15. Columbus, GA
POC: Kenya Willis
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
17. Winston Salem
Friday, November 29th at 7am at Gateway YMCA 1300 S. Main Street Winston-Salem,  NC
POC: Aisha Washington:
18. Middle GA
Wells Fargo, 1125 GA 96, Kathleen, Ga @8am. We will walk along hwy 96 and pick up trash.
POC: Renee Houey
19. Richmond, VA 
POC: Karen Anderson
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
21. Hampton Roads, VA
Bennetts Creek Park, Suffolk, VA
POC: Saundra Johnson,
22. Detroit, MI
POC; Maria Beth Stanfield
Southfield Police Department at 5am. The address is 26000 Evergreen Rd., Southfield, MI 48076
23. Long Island
POC: Jennean Rogers
8:00 A.M. at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY.
24. Columbus, OH
Shaker Heights Middle School
20600 Shaker Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122
POC: Teresa Sayles
“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:

Come out and enjoy the festivities of the Getaway: St. Pete, festivities designed to make you feel like you are on vacation, even if you are close to home! This year a 5K, 10K AND new 15K distance will be offered. The Post-Race Celebration includes food trucks, beer, face painting, interactive activities, live music and much, much more!

Not only is the 15K race distance new in 2019, the Getaway: St. Pete will be giving an additional premium item for the longer you run! Here are what participants can earn based on the distance they complete.

  • Run the Getaway 5k and you’ll earn a medal and finisher shirt (choice of unisex short sleeve lifestyle performance tee or women’s lifestyle performance tank)
  • Run the Getaway 10k to earn a medal, the finisher shirt and a plush logoed beach towel.
  • Take on the NEW Getaway 15k for a medal, the finisher shirt, the beach towel and double-walled, stainless steel 30oz tumbler!

The Getaway: St. Pete is also giving participants added incentives to build a SOCIAL TEAM and run as a group. Grab your best running pals and create a team! Social Teams as small as 10 people get rebates on entry fees for signing up with a team. Members of a social team are linked by their team name and password. And as your team grows, everyone benefits, even those who register first!

So why wouldn’t you run the Getaway: St. Pete race?! Come out and join us for some fun on November 3rd.

Use the code 19BGRTAMPA to save on your registration!

Learn more and register here:

Black women face a particularly high risk of being killed at the hands of a man. A 2015 Violence Policy Center study finds that Black women were two and a half times more likely to be murdered by men than their White counterparts. More than nine in ten Black female victims knew their killers.

Join BGR! Nation on October 26th as we raise awareness to end domestic violence! Register today for the Black Girls RUN! Domestic Violence Virtual! Get your special bib and medal in the mail before race day! Register here!

A donation will be made to The Butterfly Society Organization to help support their efforts with women in our community!

Here are a list of our local groups across the country participating in our virtual run! Join them on the pavement. Check back frequently as more groups will be added closer to October 26th!

Atlanta - October 26th
Road Runners Sports (3756 Roswell Rd NE)

Memphis - October 26th
Breakaway Running (2109 Madison Ave)

Central Jersey - October 26th
Mercer County Park, West Picnic Area

Buffalo/Rochester - October 26th
Location: TBD

Middle GA - October 26th
Heard Middle School, Macon, GA
Group 5k walk/run. We'll have a guest speaker from local domestic violence facility and balloon release

Central Valley - October 26th
Deran Koligian Stadium (4200 N Grantland Ave, Fresno CA 93723)
5k Walk/Run

SF Bay Area - October 26th
Crown Memorial State Beach

Southern Maryland - October 26th
National Harbor

Columbus, GA - October 12th
Manchester Parks and Ride (3690 Manchester Expressway)

San Antonio - October 26th
McAllister Park (13102 Jones Maltsberger Rd.)
Meet in the parking lot next to the dog park

Milwaukee - October 26th
Estabrook Park - 4400 N. Estabrook Drive. Park in the first lot north of Capital Drive.
Wear purple and black.

Annapolis - October 26th
“Shatter the Silence” 5K - Watkins Park. Free 5K sponsored by PG Park Police.

South Jersey - October 26th
Cooper River Park- 461 S. Park Drive. Collingswood, NJ
Meet in the parking lot near LaScala's Birra Restaurant

Baton Rouge - Octobre 26th
Downtown Baton Rouge
We have invited the Butterfly Society founder (benefitting charity) to join. Attire-purple

Los Angeles - October 26th
Rueben Ingold Park (4400 Mount Vernon Dr. Los Angeles, Ca 90043)
This is our End of the Month Run host location. 3-5 miles

Cleveland - October 26th
Shaker Heights Middle School
Wear purple.

Columbus, OH - October 26th
The Old Bag of Nails Bexley (18 N Nelson Rd)

Detroit, MI - October 27th (SUNDAY)
Detroit Riverfront (1340 E Atwater Street)

Seattle, WA - October 27th (SUNDAY)
Seward Park

Philadelphia, PA - October 26th
Lloyd Hall

Fayetteville, NC - October 27th (SUNDAY)
Cape Fear River Trail - Jordan Soccer Complex

Albany, NY - October 26th 
Corning Preserve Boat Launch

NYC - October 26th
Entrance of Prospect Park

Baltimore - October 26th
8 am
New Town High School- 4931 New Town Blvd., Owings Mills, MD
Meet at the parking lot next to the Tennis Courts

🗣SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!! We have teamed up with Sparkle Skirts to offer some amazing SparkleSkirts and SparkleBottoms that can match your BGR! shirts and more. Shop:

They will also be at Black Girls RUN!'s signature conference and race weekend, Sweat With Your Sole, September 19-22, visit their booth for special sparkle deals and surprises :

My official run with BGR was in June 2013. My daughter got out of school for summer vacation on a Friday and I started my journey that following Monday. After my daughter telling me that she wanted me to be healthy, I had no other choice but to get myself back on track. I've been active in sports all of my life and deep down I knew I need to get my act together.  

My most memorable BGR! experience on the pavement was my first group run.  There were two run coordinators  Robin Moore & Rojenia Jones. They were absolutely the best.  Rojenia actually stayed with me as we conquered a 5k.  She was patient and helpful.  As we were making it back to the park the other ladies that were ahead of us started running towards us.  I didn't know what was going on. I actually thought something was wrong. I'm looking confused as ever and asked what was wrong.  A lady replied and said nothing!  We came to run you in. The tears started to flow.  That left a lasting impression on me.  I have many more memorable times but that one is the one I think of first. "No Woman Left Behind" is something this organization holds true to. I love BGR! for the uniqueness of the women that are apart of this organization. Its moving to see Black Women defying odds and stereotypes. BGR! has given me the opportunity to meet so many inspiring women who have similar journeys.

Submit your BGR! story for a chance to be featured! Click here! 

Whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting out, here are 5 essentials to have before your next (or first) run.

  1. Shoes
    One of the most important components to running is making sure your feet are housed in a pair of shoes that are comfortable, supportive and can withstand the impact of the distance you are about to go. With all of the shoe lingo floating around out there, zero drop, minimalist, cushion pronation, supination, etc. it is important to get a pair of shoes that work for your feet.
    To find the right pair of shoes, it is recommended that you visit your local run shop.  Many workers in local run shops have been trained to help you find the shoe that helps support the way you move and minimize movements that can cause discomfort and/or injury.
    Be prepared to spend some time at the shop so you can try on different shoes (and different sizes) to ensure you find the best pair for your feet.

  2. Socks
    Whether the sock is too big, too small, rubs in a weird spot, keeps moisture next to your foot or slides down the back of your heel, having a bad sock day can take you from a great to grumbly run in no time.
    Majority of runners will tell you to avoid cotton socks at any cost. They may be an inexpensive alternative, but cotton is known to absorb water & sweat and keep it close to your feet which can cause hot spots & blisters.
    Instead opt for either a natural fiber and/or synthetic sock that will help wick moisture away from your foot and reduce the chance of blisters and hot spots. 
    Runner’s World came out with a list of good running socks this year.  You can check it out here.

  3. Nutrition
    As a runner there will come a time when you hit that dreaded “bonk”. That time when your body runs out of energy, your legs start feeling heavy, and even though it feels like you are working harder your pace slows. 
    One way to help prevent a “bonk” is to eat. But… When should you eat?  How much should you eat?  What should you eat?
    Each person is different so you will have to experiment and see what works best for you, but there are a couple rules of thumb:
    When should you eat?A basic rule of thumb is to start consuming calories after about an hour of running. This allows you to start replenishing muscle glycogen stores before they are depleted.
    How much should you eat?  It is recommended that you eat about 100 calories after 60 minutes of running and eat around 100 calories every 40 to 45 minutes after that.
    What should you eat?  You will have to experiment to see what works best for your stomach, but you will want to start with foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates to easily replenish your glycogen stores.  Some good examples are:  Sports Drinks, Gel Packets, Sport Gummies, energy bars, or more natural alternatives like gummy bears or jelly beans.
    While trying different foods stay away from fiber-rich foods, dairy products, and spicy foods as they may upset your gastrointestinal tract.
    Check thisarticle out for a more in-depth look at nutrition while you run.

  4. Hydration
    Moisture loss while you run, through sweat and breathing, can lead to dehydration. As dehydration increases it can cause dry mouth, fatigue, a decrease in coordination, overheating, muscle cramping, and more.  Distance, temperature, and weather conditions can all be factors in how much you need to rehydrate and when.
    When to Drink on a Run– The best time to drink is when you are thirsty.  Although this sounds like a simple piece of advice, it can be difficult to know how much liquid to bring on any given run.  It will take some experimentation to find out how often you get thirsty, but a good place to start is plan to drink 4 to 6 ounces every 20 minutes.
    What to Drinkon a Run – Water is a great place to start you drinking program.  If, however, you are planning a longer run (over 90 minutes) you will want to include some sport drink or electrolyte replacement product.
    For more information about hydration options check out thisarticle from verywellfit.

  5. Skin Protection– When talking about skin protection most people’s think of sunscreen or lotion, but one of the most important types of skin protection the kind that protects your skin from being rubbed the wrong way.
    Whether it be on the thighs, the feet, the bra line, the butt, the underarm, or anywhere else on your body, rubbing can lead to chafing, blisters, hot spots, irritation, and raw skin. (And, of course… a painful shower at the end of it all.)
    Instead of applying first aid after the problem has occurred prevent it with Body Glide® anti-chafe/anti-blister balms. These balms form an invisible, protective barrier on skin to help stop blisters and chafing before they start. Body Glide® balms go on dry; not oily, greasy, or goopy.  They don’t contain petroleum, lanolin, or messy oils and are paraben, phthalate, and cruelty free.
    To check out the full line of Body Glide® balms click here.


More than four in ten Black women experience physical violence from an intimate partner during their lifetimes.White women, Latinas, and Asian/Pacific Islander women report lower rates.

Join Black Girls RUN! on Saturday, October 26, 2019 for our Domestic Violence Awareness month virtual to bring awareness to domestic violence in our communities and the tragic impact it has on our families and women. A portion of the proceeds will benefit an organization dedicated to the empowerment of women! Register here!

Each year Black Girls RUN! partners with a select number of races to do a BGR! Takeover on the pavement!
We already have a few 2020 National Meetups officially on the calendar including, the Miami Marathon (February 8-9), Run for Fun Cruise (February 16-23), Baltimore Women's Classic (June 28) and Santa Rosa Marathon (August 24).
We are looking to add a few more to make our 2020 National Calendar complete! Take the survey below - we want to know where you want us to go!
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