256: Alison Mariella Désir on Changing the Running World

Photo by Terria Clay

“I feel really thankful that my words had that power. Now it’s about, how can I participate in having conversations, being part of rebuilding structures, holding brands accountable, and holding the industry accountable. So I think the first piece was an emotional truth telling. Now it’s about, what is the work that I can help do, what are the ways that I can pass the baton to other people, and hold people accountable for also being in this work.”
– Alison Mariella Désir

Alison Désir is a runner, mother, and an advocate. She is the founder of Harlem Run, as well as several other running collectives for women. She is a Global Ambassador for Hoka One One, and Athlete Advisor for Oiselle. Alison has a huge presence in the running community, of which she is a powerful advocate for women, both on a grassroots level and on a higher platform with brands and key community leaders. This is a powerful conversation with Alison, and covers the following topics:

  • Her one year old son and motherhood
  • How she got her nickname ‘Powdered Feet’ and her childhood
  • Her early experiences running
  • Her parents preparing her for the world
  • Being a minority in school
  • Feeling more accepted and belonging in college
  • Being inspired to run a marathon
  • The importance of structure
  • Founding Harlem Run, and the evolution to what it is today
  • Sharing and having a collaborative partner
  • How she met her husband
  • Who inspires her
  • Her goals and future ambitions as a runner and advocate
  • Womxn Run the Vote and how she got involved with Oiselle

This podcast is sponsored by Oiselle. Oiselle is a Seattle based, women run athletic apparel company, for women. Oiselle makes beautifully designed and functional running apparel for female athletes of all ages, paces, and places and brings together a community of women who love to move, run, and fly. Their mission is threefold: make great products, improve the sport, and build the sisterhood. Oiselle makes apparel for both recreational runners and women who are at the pinnacle of their sport, and everything in between. Three American Records have been set in Oiselle uniforms, and their extended sizing means there is something for everyone. The design and wear testing process is extensive, and they use models that are as diverse as their incredible product choices.

Oiselle’s website is full of free resources for training plans, advice for girls and much more. As part of Oiselle’s social mission, they created the Bras For Girls program, aimed at encouraging participation in sport for late elementary to middle school girls.They donate sport bras to girls at an age where many stop participating in sport due to discomfort with their changing bodies. Oiselle aims to encourage participation in sport by reducing a prominent barrier for many girls in that age demographic. So far, Oiselle has donated over 8000 sports bras to middle school girls, and is expanding the program every year.

Oiselle has organised a WOMXN RUN THE VOTE virtual relay from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington, DC, September 21st-27th, 2020. Teams of 15-20 will virtually cover the 680-mile journey, learn about Civil Rights historic sites and people, and raise money for Black Voters Matter, an organization dedicated to increasing power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Your registration will include an exclusive invitation to a virtual event featuring LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, on September 22nd (National Voter Registration Day).

Oiselle is offering a 15% discount to ROO listeners, who used the code ‘ROO15’ at oiselle.com
This is only valid for Oiselle products purchased before September 15 2020.


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