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Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir
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Running While Black

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Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir
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Oct 18, 2022 | ISBN 9780593613436 | 483 Minutes

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  • Oct 18, 2022 | ISBN 9780593418628

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Praise

“The stories (and histories) Désir weaves together are captivating, eye-opening, and often even uncomfortable in their raw honesty and personal perspective. For fellow Black folks, Running While Black provides a way to feel seen and understood. For non-Black people, this book offers a window into a world they will never experience and an opportunity to inspire empathy and action.” —SELF Magazine, Best Books of 2022

Running While Black speaks directly to the anguish Black runners live with while running through a white supremacist world. Alison provides readers a behind-the-scenes view of what it is to be Black and a runner: constantly minimized, removed, and erased altogether. Her writing is thought-provoking and provides readers with inspiration to enact change.”
Alysia Montaño, Olympian and six-time USA Outdoor Track and Field 800-meter winner

“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

“Alison has been an amazing advocate and champion for diversity and holistic wellness in our sport. In Running While Black, Alison challenges us to acknowledge the significant obstacles to the concept of freedom of running for Black people and encourages us to pursue the powerful goals of a truly safe and inclusive sport. Alison’s personal journey, combined with her community and historical perspectives, are great vehicles for all of us to become more informed and empowered.”
Meb Keflezighi, four-time Olympian and author of 26 Marathons and Meb for Mortals

Running While Black shattered the ideals in which, for three decades, I held the sport in high regard for its inclusiveness. Luckily, every page inspired me to use the running stage to support a safer space for all to participate. Then maybe an entire nation could follow.”
Deena Kastor, Olympic medalist and New York Times bestselling author of Let Your Mind Run

“Alison’s stories are vibrant and uplifting, leaving readers empowered to make real change in the running industry. This groundbreaking book is a must read for everyone, whether they run or not!”
Alexi Pappas, Olympian, filmmaker, actor, and author of Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas

“Make no mistake, this book, this extraordinary account, will trigger those who have always had the privilege of an idyllic, nonracialized experience with the ‘universal, accessible’ sport of running. If this is you, I urge you to open the book, lean into the discomfort that will certainly come, and do some important learning and reflection about what could actually reenergize the sport of running as the most inclusive, welcoming, and diverse sport it has the potential to be.”
Mirna Valerio, ultrarunner and author of A Beautiful Work in Progress

“I grew up as a competitive runner, and I truly believed that running was for everyone. But in reading Running While Black, I was startled and saddened to realize just how false that narrative was. Alison Mariella Désir weaves the eye-opening history of running in the United States and her experience as a Black woman throughout the book. History I have never heard, history that changes the stories I have been fed since I was a young girl. It makes me look at my beloved sport with a new lens, and it breaks my heart. The first step for all runners should be to read Running While Black.”
Kara Goucher, two-time Olympian and author of Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You

“Run. Buy this book and read it as fast as you can. And then, like your favorite running loop, go over it repeatedly. It is monumental in its importance. Riveting in her[CC1] [DT2]  story and style, Alison Mariella Désir challenges and inspires us to think deeply and play our part in a better, truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive sport and society.”
Mary Wittenberg, former president and CEO of New York Road Runners, and president of League One Volleyball

“With the propulsion and investigation of a detective novel and the soul-tingling honesty of a great memoir, Running While Black will keep you turning pages until the wee hours, unraveling everything you thought you knew. If sport has ever been your teacher, if you call yourself a runner, if you believe in the power of running to unite us—you simply must read this book.”
Lauren Fleshman, professional runner and author of Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World

Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir is a must read for anyone interested in running, the power of sport, racism, and mental health. She skillfully weaves the history of running with the reality of racism and racial restrictions in America while demonstrating how transformative running could be. Reading this book should encourage everyone to support running for everyone.”
Richard Lapchick, PhD, human rights activist, author, founder of the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport

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