Our women in fitness series is a celebration of fly girls doing fly things. Meet Jasmine – she’s one of the six co-founders of RUNGRL (rungrl.co), a platform to celebrate and inspire black women distance runners. We’ll be virtually cheering her on when she runs the Berlin Marathon on 16th September (you got this Jasmine!), but in the meantime, you can learn more about her fitness journey, and how RUNGRL are helping black women in the US overcome barriers to fitness.
It was 2014 and I’d been in Washington, D.C. for two years. I was feeling sluggish working a desk job, and was looking for something to do after work (other than happy hour). A few friends signed up for a half-marathon, and peer pressure and FOMO kicked in so I decided to sign up, too. I’m not sure what made me think I could run a half-marathon – like, I didn’t even run to catch the bus in college. Thankfully, I found District Running Collective and the crew helped me looking forward to running. So, I went from couch to half-marathon in three months and haven’t looked back.
If I had to dig deeper into why I started running and why I continue – it’s because of the people I met through running, and the feeling after I finish a run. There’s nothing like completing a tough trail run with friends or getting a marathon PR that makes you feel like you’re unstoppable in every aspect of life, with the right people by your side. Running is my constant reminder that I’m capable of more.
In April 2018, five friends and I launched RUNGRL, a platform for black women distance runners. One of the issues within the distance running community is that there’s not enough women who look like us getting a large platform to talk about our experiences. That was one of the reasons we created RUNGRL – to celebrate all the black women getting in miles. So my fave fitness woman of colour are my friends – Ashlee Lawson (@ashleesimone), Dannielle McNeilly (@vexyspice) and Melissa Doldron (@melissad_rmt) – fierce women who push our community forward. I look forward to seeing a lot more colour in this sport at all levels.
As for the rest of the year, I’m spearheading our #MyRunningHair initiative that addresses hair as a barrier for black women in fitness, and ways to overcome it so black women can get (and keep) moving. I’ve also moved to New York, so I’m looking forward to exploring my new home by foot.
Jasmine’s fitness and health tips
Find your fitness sisters circle, and keep them close. Accountability is one of the keys to starting and maintaining a fitness routine.JasminePR and co-founder of RUNGRL