Black Girls Run! has named St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the official benefiting charity of the annual Sweat With Your Sole Festival taking place in Atlanta, Ga on Sept. 4-7. We talk with the founders of Black Girls Run! Toni and Ashley about their partnership with St. Jude, the Sweat With Your Sole conference, and what’s next for BGR! Check out what the ladies had to say and be sure to sign up as a St. Jude Hero today.
How did BGR! choose St. Jude as the official benefiting charity for Sweat With Your Sole?
Toni: A college friend Carmen suggested partnering with St. Jude so we went on a tour. After we left it was evidently we had to partner with St. Jude. The children’s success stories, the support of families and because it was such a caring and loving environment.
Ashley: We have a responsibility to give back. We have a lot of members that deal with cancer and other illnesses. As an organization, giving back is a part of our foundation.
Tell us about the Black Girls Run St. Jude Heroes team?
“St. Jude Heroes, are a special group who run with generous hearts to help generate awareness and raise funds so St. Jude can continue fighting the most aggressive childhood cancers and diseases. St. Jude Heroes raise anywhere from $100 to $10,000 and beyond as individuals or by forming teams.”
Black Girls Run members can sign up to be a St. Jude Hero or join the Black Girls Run! St. Jude Heroes team. We have a goal of raising $25,000 and more for St. Jude. With our nationwide membership, we look forward to meeting and exceeding that goal.
What can attendees expect from this year’s Sweat With Your Sole conference?
Toni: This year will be our best year yet. New sessions and partnerships including KTX Fitness, yoga instructors and clinics such as hip openers and of course the post race party with a hot DJ. St. Jude will be represented at the expo, race and honors dinner. We are really excited about the dinner. Naudia, who is a St. Jude patient and a former track and field athlete, will be sharing her story and how the St. Jude Heroes has supported her family. You won’t want to miss it. We also added the 15K as a great new distance to this year SWYS race.
What is your greatest accomplishment since starting BGR!?
Ashley: The lives that have changed through running. Members being able to deal with stress and things like loss of a loved one, divorces and various health issues. The difference in people’s lives is my greatest accomplishment.
Toni: Activating change! We can complain, but really hitting the ground and making a change is what matters. The changes we have been able to be a part of have been amazing.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give women looking to become more active?
Ashley: Just do it. If you’re on the fence with a list of excuses; just go ahead and doing it. I encourage people to find something they enjoy and just do it!
Toni: Set a goal. Walk a mile. Run for five minutes straight. Whatever it is, you’ll have more success when you have something to strive for.
Where do you see Black Girls Run! in the next 3-5 years?
We are focusing on expanding membership. Shifting the numbers by reaching out to communities and holding events. We also plan to grow Sweat With Your Sole. We plan to expand by including other sports like cycling, swimming, yoga and more while launching clinics around these sports.
Bonus question: What is your favorite race distance and why?
Toni: Half Marathon. It’s just enough to push yourself.
Ashley: I like a 10K for day-to-day but I also like the full marathon. I like the challenge and dedication it takes to complete a full marathon
Thank you Toni and Ashley for sharing your vision for BGR! and your partnership with St. Jude Heroes with us. Here are some great facts about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.
- It costs $2 million a day to operate St. Jude and thanks to the support of groups like Black Girls RUN!, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
- Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to more than 80 percent today.
- St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.
Will you sign up to be a St. Jude Hero? Are you ready to be more physically active and give back? Join BGR! at this year’s Sweat With Your Sole conference and share your goals with us.