5 Questions with the Badass Lady Gang Roanoke
The Badass Lady Gang is a free global running movement on a mission to connect, support, and encourage women to get active in ways that empower them. The Roanoke chapter kicked off in January (although some members have been together since 2017).
The goal of bringing the BALG to Roanoke was to encourage more women to get active, so runners, walkers, and badasses of all fitness levels and experience have a tribe where they feel welcome, supported, and strengthened. The mantra of BALG is that “our goals are individual, but together, we redefine what strength looks like.” BALG was founded nationally by Kelly Roberts, who struggled with her identity as a runner, because she saw runners as slim, athletic, and fast, and she didn’t feel she checked those boxes (a common theme among many runners). Her vision for BALG is to redefine what strength looks like; health isn’t a look; it’s a lifestyle.
You are invited to BALG events, including workouts on first and third Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at Vic Thomas Park: The idea is to have a fun (and challenging) workout that helps push everyone to get stronger while creating a common bond.
5 questions with Lisa Harmon and Nicole Cooper of the Badass Lady Gang
1. How can someone get involved with BALG?
Lisa/Nicole: It’s super easy! All you need is a willingness to show up and try your best. Check out the website for more information or come to one of our meetups. Group runs are not mandatory, so we’re never sure how many people to expect. We do use a closed Facebook group to communicate (personal wins, PRs, injury reports, selfies, emotional support) on a day-to-day basis; that group is approaching 90 members.
2. What are the events/activities you participate in?
Lisa/Nicole: Right now, our main focus is our twice-monthly meetup, where we spend about an hour running and walking together while we socialize and root for each other, but we also host special events. For example, we recently teamed up with Girls Rock Roanoke for a 5K fun run/walk at Starr Hill Pilot Brewery and Side Stage. And we have lots of other things in the works for the spring and summer! It’s worth mentioning that our members often meet-up for other social and fitness-related outings like yoga, dance class, trail running, strength training, etc. It’s awesome to see someone reach out because they want to try something they’ve never done before and have group members offer to go with them so they don’t have to try alone. It’s so empowering and uplifting!
3. How can someone bring out their inner badass?
Lisa/Nicole: We believe being a badass is about how you show up for yourself and for others. It doesn’t matter how far or fast you run; if you push yourself to become the strongest version of yourself and encourage other women to do the same, you’re a badass in our book. For you, that might mean running marathons. For someone else, it might mean having the courage to show up to a group run where she doesn’t know anyone and even questions whether she belongs. Being a badass is about having the courage to show up in those moments and push beyond your perceived limits when fear and self-doubt try to take over and sabotage you.
4. What’s your favorite thing about the outdoor community in the region?
Lisa/Nicole: We are so fortunate to live in an area where we can connect with others in gorgeous spaces and interact with nature in ways that make us stronger! Right now, we are loving seeing so many fellow runners and walkers tackle parts of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Full and Half Marathon and Anthem Star 10K courses in preparation for their big race. Seeing our community out there on those mountains reminds us not only of the beauty we get to train in, but also of the power and potential of people when they come together to chase a goal.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do outside?
Lisa: Run, of course! Really, though, I love any excuse to be outside: hiking an area trail, floating on the Roanoke River, or attending one of our great festivals – all great ways to enjoy our beautiful region and get active with your gang!
Nicole: Hiking is my FAVORITE! I love being out on the trails, soaking in all the gorgeous scenery of our beloved Blue Ridge. I’m a teacher so I get my summers off, and I spend as much of the summer months out in the woods as possible. Oh, and also beer. Being outside on a patio at a local brewery with my pals enjoying some tasty brews — like a band of fun, strong, empowering, badass women, it just can’t be beat!