This photo shows only a few of the 3000 men and women who ran the 5K or 10K. It was very moving because as far as the eyes could see there were black people of all shapes and sizes committed to living a healthy lifestyle. If you don't understand the magnitude of this accomplishment, let me share some statistics with you from US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:
- African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
- In 2010, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic Whites.
- In 2010, African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.
- In 2007-2010, African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls
The founders of BGR! Ashley and Toni started the organization to combat these figures and a mere year after the first running club was established, this race and a full conference were held in Atlanta. These women have made a tremendous difference in the lives of black women all over the nation and the world! One member flew from The Netherlands to participate in the race and conference!
Now on to the race. I have run MANY races and I was totally impressed by the organization of this inaugural run. There was water every mile or so and it was ICE COLD. I can't tell you what a difference this makes, especially in humid Atlanta! There were folks from BGR! and family and friends cheering us on as we ran our 5k or 10K route. Honestly, the route was quite hilly but this is Atlanta and it comes with the territory. My favorite aspect was seeing some of the BGR! ambassadors at the top of the last hill cheering us on. The ladies were from the Atlanta chapter so it was nice to see familiar smiling faces!
Finally the last 1/4 mile was the very best! I literally sprinted to the finish to cheers of my fellow BGRs and the feeling was incredible. When I received my medal - yes, medal, I felt like an Olympian! Admittedly this was not my fastest race but I impressed myself because the day before I'd run 19 or so miles! And for those of you who are not runners, receiving a medal for a 5k or 10K is not the norm. I let my friends know who were racing for the first time that the medal was VERY SPECIAL and honestly, I'm still smiling and wore my medal proudly for most of that day!
Cheesing with my bling!
Lorraine and I with our friends first time racers Lamar and Ronnie and Eric
Robin and I - fellow BGR! members and facebook friends meeting for the first time
My college classmate Buffy. She is a cancer survivor and ran her first 5K!
Co-Founder of BGR! Ashley and Ms. Ernestine Sheppard the World's Oldest Body Builder!
The icing on the cake for this race and race weekend were the funds that were raised from the entry fee. $11,000 was raised to end hunger!
This race was everything I could have hoped for and more. Thousands running with a shared commitment to healthy living, philanthropy and of course a well organized race! I can't wait until next year!
Disclosure: I am a BGR! Drive to End Hunger Ambassador and received entry to the race. All opinions are my own.