Black Girls Run!, Cleveland

Friday, September 23

John S. Knight Center

Main Exhibit Hall

3:00 PM

Nikaeda Griffie

Natalie Johnson

Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren

About Black Girls Run!

The goal of “Black Girls Run” is to encourage and motivate black women to practice a healthy lifestyle. We want to serve as a fitness resource for runners and gym rats alike, as well as provide tips and commentary on staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  But we also want to start a movement to encourage ALL women to get off the couch and get active. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health,

  • African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S.
  • About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
  • In 2015, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non- Hispanic whites.
  • In 2015, African American women were 60 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women.
  • In 2011-2014, African American girls were 50% more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic white girls.

We can make a lot of excuses as to why these numbers are the way they are, but excuses never solved an epidemic. So, we’re here to make a change, and we hope you are too. There’s a lot to talk about and a lot of calories to burn, so be sure to sign up for automatic alerts and join your local group.

About Nikaeda Griffie

Nikaeda Griffie is a resident of Akron, Ohio. She started running in high school as a way to socialize and continued cross country and track in college for gym credit and to stay in shape. Nikaeda returned to running in 2007 when a coworker invited her to participate on a marathon relay team. She ran a 5k leg on the 5- person team and was hooked. From there she went on to challenge herself to participate in one event each month usually between a 5k and 10k distance. A year later she ran her first half marathon and then her first marathon a few weeks later. Her running has escalated to include countless races from 5k up to 100k distances.

While she has dabbled in trail races and likes the ultramarathon distance, Nikaeda has a strong preference for road running. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic she had been training for her dream race, the Selma to Montgomery Relay where she would run 51 miles along the route Civil Rights leaders traveled on foot for voting rights. The race was cancelled the week before it was to take place in March 2020. Nikaeda and her amazing coach ran the race virtually with a friend. Following this accomplishment, her coach encouraged her to register and train for Indiana Trail 100 endurance race. After 8 months of training, Nikaeda earned her 100-mile buckle in October 2021.

Nikaeda now runs for stress relief as much as fitness and prides herself in being an average runner with above average goals. Her mantra- you can do hard things. Her most recent “hard thing” was completing the Selma to Montgomery race in person in March 2022. She was also proud to represent Black Runners Connection as a runner on a relay team for Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 through the Ironman Foundation’s Race for Change Initiative. Nikaeda has
future aspirations to complete a half marathon in all 50 states. She is a proud member of several running clubs- the most influential being Black Girls Run!, Black Runners Connection, National Black Marathoners Association and She Runs This Town. Nikaeda loves to share her love for running with others and has coached 5 seasons with Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio. She also serves on their IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Committee with the goal of bringing GOTR to more diverse communities.

About Natalie Johnson

Natalie is one of Cleveland Ohio Black Girls Run Ambassador. Natalie has been with Black Girls Run 10 years.

Natalie role is to support the Mission and Vision of Black Girls Run which is to movtive black women to live a healthy lifestyle. Natalie dedicates her time by hosting Group Runs and Volunteering and supporting the local community.

Natalie loves Black Girls Run, As an Ambassador she provide positive energy to all women. She loves interacting and talking to new runners. Running challenges Natalie and she enjoys the challenge. Natalie completed her first Marathon in the Akron Marathon in September 2019

Natalie has completed many Half Marathons 10K’s and 5K”s.

Natalie graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

In 2020 Natalie became a Board Member of Ashbury Senior Computer Center (ASCC3) an organization which works to improve the educational and access to technology and digital for the community.

Natalie is married to Robert and love their 4 children and grandchildren.

Natalie loves to laugh, run and encourages others.

About Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren

A Believer, Caregiver, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Runner, and a lifelong proud Social Worker. Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren, a native of Cleveland, Ohio obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Cleveland State University and Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Over the past 25 years, her commitment and passion has been to be an advocate for social justice, change, health, and improvement in the greater Cleveland community. Tanjulla has a vast expertise from child welfare through aging populations. She’s currently a Crisis Call Center Manager with Thrive Peer Recovery Services.

Tanjulla joined BGR! Cleveland’s Walk before you Run program in 2013 and started running at the age of 40. She was caring for her mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She ran from high blood pressure, strokes, caregiver stress/burden, and to maintain her mental health. She focused on health choices and to bring community awareness of the disease especially to African Americans. In the process, Tanjulla lost 50 pounds from running and exercising.

Tanjulla served three years as one of the Ambassadors for Black Girls Run! Cleveland and five years as a Run Coordinator. She spearheaded BGR community partnerships with Cleveland Clinic (which led to a Unity Award), Girls on the Run, and Cleveland State University Women’s basketball team and a host of others. At BGR retirement, Tanjulla was served with a City of Cleveland Proclamation for community service from the Mayor. In 2018, Tanjulla joined the Girls on the Run board to support, uplift, and empower girls grade 3-8.

February 9, 2020, was a day of the unimaginable for Tanjulla’s family. Her 28-year-old son was a victim of gun violence which caused him to become a quadriplegic. She’s spent the year coordinating all of his care needs in the midst of a pandemic. She has survived 2020 through the Grace & Mercy of God. She used meditation, stretches, and laced up her shoes to take a walk or run for coping. In the end, BGR offers you the tools to get through anything that life challenges you with. You can see her televised story on NBC, One Team: The Power of Sports