In 2009, Black Girls RUN! was created by cofounders, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners. The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage ALL (especially African-American women) to make fitness and healthy living a priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80% of African-American women are overweight. BGR! wants to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently, lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle. The organization is open to ALL women, no men allowed!
BGR! Owner & CEO
Jay Ell Alexander is a public relations practitioner with a genuine commitment to giving back to the local community through her passion for communications, health and fitness. She has served as the National Manager and Public Relations Director of Black Girls RUN! since 2012. In April 2018, she became the owner and CEO of the organization. She is the also Owner of The Vaughn Strategy, a public relations strategy consulting firm.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Alexander graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (2008), with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Journalism. She also received a Master of Science degree in Strategic Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. (2010). Alexander has a passion for running (completing her first marathon in 2014 and numerous half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks since 2010), loves shopping (sneakers!) and traveling.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Omicron Iota, Spring 2007), and resides in Richmond, Va. with her husband, Chris and their dog child, Jane Luna (JL). You can connect and learn more about Jay Ell by going to www.jayellalexander.com.
Black Girls RUN! is thrilled to partner with Girls on the Run, an empowerment program for girls in 3rd-8th grade—giving them skills and experiences to navigate their world with confidence and joy. One girl at a time, Girls on the Run has changed 1 million lives. With your help, they will change 1 million more!
REI is proud to be the Official Outdoor Retailer for Black Girls RUN!