As the owner and CEO of Black Girls RUN!—a non-profit that encourages African American women to practice a healthy lifestyle as a means of tackling the growing obesity epidemic—Jay Ell Alexander believes that fitness has the power to elevate and empower the Black community. Her organization's mission is to motivate women to use running groups as a resource to unite and stay active, whether through self-love or just adopting a healthier mindset.
“You could say we’re part of a movement but I think it’s more about movement itself. Just moving together, running together, it’s empowering. And I think seeing us out there running, day in, day out, gives some women a chance to see themselves in ways they may not have thought of before,” says Alexander. And to prove her point, she shares that she even maintained her regular runs while pregnant, because she values consistency above all else.
Alongside rap artist Trinidad James, Alexander is starring in a campaign for global running lifestyle brand, Saucony titled, “Call Us Runners.” In the video, both James and Alexander celebrate the complexities and the drive of runners everywhere. Specifically, they discuss their experiences of bringing diversity to the sport, breaking the status quo and leading with example.
Alexander beautifully sums up her experience by saying, “You know, running is pretty simple. Just putting one foot in front of the other. But it moves you forward and that’s what it’s all about. So am I runner? Are we runners? I don’t know…but we keep moving forward.”