‘Black Girls RUN!’ inspires Triad women

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In the United States, long distance running is fairly popular.

Marathons and half-marathons happen year-round, but seeing African-Americans in the crowd is often a rare sight.

Thanks to groups like Black Girls RUN!, diversity in the sport is growing.

“Once I got out there and started running, I realized, I really enjoy running,” Tammy Toliver, an ambassador with the Greensboro chapter of Black Girls RUN!, said.

Black Girls RUN! is a national organization that began in 2009 to address the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community.

"We take so much time that we spend with other people that sometimes we neglect ourselves and our own health,” Tolliver said.

Black Girls RUN! has running groups across the country.

Before joining, many of the women in groups across the Triad say they didn’t consider themselves athletes and certainly didn’t run outdoors.

"Never. I was actually a treadmill runner, so I really thought I was running then until I started running outside,” member Tonia Easterling said.

Easterling says that after she started competing in races, she was hooked.

"I have done about 15 to 20 half-marathons since I've been running in 2011,” she said.

Easterling completed her first full marathon at Wrightsville Beach in March.

Member Justine Moton recently completed her first 15K.

“That was 9.23 miles. I think that I was in shock for hours because I just couldn't believe that I did it,” she said.

“It's not just a running community, it's like we have a sisterhood,” Toliver said.

Women of all ethnic backgrounds participate in Black Girls RUN!

Not all members run, walkers and joggers participate as well.