If you love to run, Tampa's one of the best cities to do it. There are plenty of groups in town, but one local organization is targeting a group of unlikely runners. These ladies say whether you're worried about your hair or your ability to keep up, there's no really no excuse not to run.
Their push to get more women to lace up is "What's Right with Tampa Bay."
The group's name is "Black Girls Run," and their mission is straightforward.
"'Black Girls Run' was founded in 2009, simply for the reason of getting women active and leading more healthy lifestyle," says 46-year-old Tia Pettygrue, one the co-ambassadors for the group.
April King is one of the club's newest members who has seen positive changes. Since April joined the group in January, she's lost 11 pounds and walked her first 5K.
"I didn't run because I just assumed I couldn't. I'm pretty overweight, so the idea of…running is slim to zero," she said.
It's a struggle many other women face.
"The Centers for Disease Control found that more than 80 percent of African-American women are overweight and more than 51 percent of them over the age of 20 are also overweight," Tia explained.
Much like April King, Shenia Jackson was also hesitant to join a running group.
"Before I started running with them, I would try other running groups but other people were more elite and I just wasn't there. I was very slow and it was kinda embarrassing to not be able to keep up with the group," Shenia said.
"Most just start by walking, but just having that support and community is such a help," Tia said.
The runs become a social event.
"You know women, we love to chat, so we run and chat," she added.
Shenia agreed, "The camaraderie, the support, people are so supportive. People who have been through your journey."
"My goal is to become a marathon maniac. So I got my first marathon in," Shenia said with a proud smile, "And I'm on my way!"
April also has high goals.
"I'm thinking this time next year I'll be one of the runners, instead of just walking," she said.
"Oh they can do it. Black girls run! So come run with us! Walk, run, crawl, it doesn't matter, just come and join us!" Tia said.
Black Girls Run is open to all runners and they have weekly runs throughout the Tampa Bay area.
For more information: http://www.blackgirlsrun.com/
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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