So I’ve recently discovered this blog Black Girls Run! that is basically a blog and an initiative to encourage Black women to run and become physically active. For those that know and don’t know, African Americans have one of the highest obesity rates and with that have a higher risk of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol to name a few. One of the creators recently detailed an experience she had at the gym with someone she encountered who saw her Black Girls Run! shirt she was wearing. You can read the post here. Basically there was a white receptionist who said white girls run too. As a runner, my obvious answer to this would be DUH! But basically the young lady not knowing the meaning behind the message on the shirt took offense to it. Anyways, this made me think of my role as a Black female runner.
I have run enough races and attended enough expos to have observed that there are not a lot of Black runners (or even people of color for that matter). It’s almost to the point that when I see another runner who looks like me I make sure to acknowledge them. But why is running such a majority white sport? I mean out of almost all of the sports it’s practically the cheapest. You don’t need a lot of expensive gear like you use in other sports. And you can run wherever there is a track, park or sidewalk. Yet so many black women aren’t doing it. Why? I have heard some very crazy reasons but the top two are: don’t want to mess up their hair and don’t want to lose their curves.
This absolutely baffles me. I won’t lie that back when I used to get my hair done I would wait 2 or 3 days before I went for a run so that I could preserve the style for a little bit. But to completely avoid working out because of your hair is really silly. The second reason that they don’t want to lose their curves is laughable. I’m not sure where the idea that you will lose your curves from running came from. Based on my own experience, running keeps me toned and helps define my curves. Not only that, but if anyone has watched Women’s track (heck Men’s track even) And seen the booties on those people should know that running is REALLY enhancing their curves.
I really admire Black Girls Run! and love what they are trying to do. I truly hope it’s a movement that takes off and that women will begin to make their physical health and well-being a priority.