Watch: Alison Désir, the Running Activist

As a child, Alison Désir was given the nickname “Powdered Feet.” “It actually comes from the Haitian Creole saying, ‘You never see the person, just the footprints of where they’ve been in powder,’” Désir tells The Root.


But Désir hasn’t always been a distance runner. In fact, she found running after a bout of depression. Life had thrown Désir many challenges: Her father was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (a disease to which he would eventually succumb), her then boyfriend was cheating on her, and as a result she was at home on social media, all of the time. She was inspired by a friend on social media and signed up for her first marathon.

Years later, Désir is an endurance athlete, the founder of Harlem Run and Run 4 All Women, and a representative of Under Armour’s latest global campaign, Unlike Any.

“What you tend to hear most about women of color is that they’re inactive, high obesity rates, high high blood pressure rates, and that there are issues around our hair that keep us from moving,” Désir says. “I think that while all of that may be true, it’s sort of focusing the narrative in one way, and not [on] the great things that are happening.”

Check out the video to find out how Alison Désir became a running activist.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.