What makes Black Girls RUN! run? Our Black Girls RUN! Ambassadors. With more than 190 ambassadors across the country, these women are responsible for bringing BGR! awesomeness to cities across the country! Not only that, they inpsire women in their community to hit the pavement and rep BGR! every dang day! Want to know more about the ambassadors in your city? Welcome to our new "Meet Your Ambassadors" series! Each week we will feature ambassadors from our groups to help you learn a little more about who they are and why they are passionate about the work they do! Barbara Mullen: My running journey is evolving like my life. I have good seasons, slow seasons and okay seasons. This past summer I had a great season! Running keeps me moving and healthy. As long as I'm moving; I'm growing.
Nolana Newton: My running journey started when I was in third grade at field day. I remember running races and loving it. In my grown up life I have ebbed and flowed with running. After having kids (now a 3rd and 5th grader) running took a back seat until a year ago. I started running more consistently on my own and connecting with on line running communities. My cousin in law from Dallas introduced me to BGR virtually. I was hooked and couldn't wait for it to come to Seattle.
Nikita Midamba: I become a member of BGR! in April of 2012 and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am continually inspired by all of the amazing women who are apart of this movement. The positive peer pressure I have experienced in this group has motivated me to accomplish things I never dreamed I would be able to do. Thank you BGR!
A. How do you motivate the members on the page to get started?
Barbara: We post our runs and encourage the ladies to "meet us on the pavement". We've also started conversations about what slows ladies down and how to mitigate that.
Nolana: I try to motivate people by recognizing accomplishments of others. I love to hear about how training is going and rejoice in the joy of reaching goals.
Nikita: We encourage members on the page to get started by inviting them out to one of our weekly standing runs and reminding them that BGR! welcomes ladies of all fitness levels. No woman gets left behind!
B. Use one word to describe your BGR! City?
Barbara: Seattle/Tacoma is determined! It rains a lot here and is not sunny everyday but people still get out and do what they need to do!
Nolana: Warm community - the support of the women when they consistently come out is awesome.
C. Best advice you would give to new runners?
Barbara: Don't look at others. See how far you come on your own journey. Every step, every second, every day counts.
Nolana: My best advice to new runners is to take it slow, buy a good pair of shoes, and incorporate a strength program too.
Nikita: Be persistent, don't be discouraged, and have fun! Running gets easier the more you do it, so allow yourself to be a beginner. Before you know it you will be running marathons :)
D. How you encourage advanced runners to get to the next level?
Barbara: I lead by example. I'm always trying to push myself and say, "this is probably gonna be tough, it's probably going to be hard, and we might have to work. but who's with me?" Sometimes it's no one...sometimes it's everyone!
Nolana: For advanced runners I would recommend finding a training partner who is just as fast or a little faster to run with or buy a watch that will give you your pace. Paying attention to those details is invaluable.
Nikita: For advanced runners it's important to set goals for yourself so you don't become complacent or bored. Set goals to try to improve your speed or distance. Incorporate different workouts into your training routine. Experiment with running on different terrain by participating in a trail run. Try a relay race, obstacle course or triathlon. Maybe even enter a race in a different country for a change of scenery...Jamaica anyone? There are so many different types of races out there, so try different things and have fun!
E. How did you feel the moment you left your first BGR! run?
Barbara: I felt like I was home. There's not a lot of places to have "sister" time in Seattle. We are the "whitest" city in the nation. The black population is only 7% (and shrinking). In addition, it's not everyday to find a running group where no one is left behind. The day after I left the first run, I felt at ease and that I made the right decision in being an Ambassador.
Nolana: Energized. I felt energized and excited about the connections between everyone.
Nikita: The moment I left my first BGR! run I felt excited! I couldn't wait to come back!
F. What do you say to ladies right before a big race?
Barbara: "We may walk, we may crawl, but we FINISH! "
Nolana: Let's get it done!
Nikita: You've trained hard for this moment and it is your time to shine! Your race, your pace. You got this! Now go out there and finish strong!