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Running saved Alison Mariella Désir’s life.
At rock bottom and searching for meaning and structure, Désir started marathon training, finding that it vastly improved both her physical and mental health. Yet as she became involved in the community and learned its history, she realized that the sport was largely built with white people in mind.
In her book Running While Black, Alison explores her own journey as a runner alongside the stories of other Black runners capturing the infectious joy of movement while making an unflinching, inspiring call for change.
“In Running While Black, Désir deftly weaves together family histories, Black history, and Black running history to produce a powerful narrative of personal discovery. The quest to belong, to exhale, and to be free resounds off these pages. The act of running while Black is both freeing and risky; it is the breath and the gasp for air. This aptly named book invites us into that contradiction. Désir’s journey—and her words—demonstrate the work of carving out space, of building community, challenging racism, and disrupting whitewashed industries. It compels us to lace up and join her on the road.”
—Amira Rose Davis, Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas-Austin, author of Can’t Eat a Medal and cohost of the podcast Burn It All Down
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