Author explores the complex relationship between running and race

“Running While Black” reimagines inclusivity in the running industry. Author Alison Mariella Désir joins CultureShift to discuss.

Alison M. Désir

A new book, “Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport that Wasn’t Built for Us,” takes a deep look at an exercise that’s often seen as a “white sport.”

Author Alison Mariella Désir is an endurance athlete, activist and mental health advocate. Her book explores reimagining the running industry to be more inclusive to all people. This week, Désir is taking the book through communities in Michigan that cater to Black runners.

“This book is for Black folks to see themselves finally represented in a story about running. And then also for white folks, many of whom have never considered that running could be anything but joyful, who haven’t considered the fear and the psychological safety needed to go for a run that Black people in this country unfortunately do not have access to.” — Alison Mariella Désir, author

Désir will be at Gazelle Sports in Birmingham on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. for an in-store book-reading, book-signing and Q&A session.

Gazelle Sports is also partnering with Playmakers and WeRun313 to donate and distribute hundreds of pairs of gently used shoes to those in need in the Metro Detroit community.

Anyone interested can go participate in the community shoe drop from 5-6:30 p.m. Désir will also offer brief remarks to kick off the WeRun313 Thursday night 5k/10k run. Events will take place at Robert C. Valade Park on Atwater St. in Detroit.

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.