You guys know Alison Désir? No? Well, you should. With all these social changes happening, now more than ever, women need to stick together. I've heard about Alison and her movement through Insta-friends from New York and thought to myself that this woman is who everyone should look up to, not those who are famous for having big asses and sex tapes. Believe it or not, I met her at mile 14 of the Boston Marathon. We were both running and I recognized her from pictures and introduced myself, yes, while struggling one mile at a time.
From then on, I've been following her journey of raising HELLA money for Planned Parenthood and starting Run 4 All Women to continue the initiative success of raising money for PP. I honestly cannot rave enough about how awesome Alison is and it's all coming from a genuine background, absolutely nothing fake about it.
Read on to get to know more about one of our modern-day activists...
When did your interest in running come about?
"I started running in 2012 when I was going thru a period of depression; my boyfriend was cheating on me, my father was suffering from Lewy Body Dementia and I was unemployed. I spent all day at home, on social media, feeling hopeless and without purpose. Luckily, I saw that a friend of mine was training for a marathon and raising funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and that sparked my interest. I was drawn to the way that running was changing his life and helping him to create connections and, honestly, I knew needed a drastic change in my life. With nothing to lose, I decided to follow his footsteps and signed up to train and raise funds for the same organization. Running transformed my whole outlook on life and what I thought was possible. I ended up raising over $5,000 for the organization and, within a year, started Harlem Run to share my experience with others in my neighborhood. Harlem Run has since grown into a movement that is inspiring people around the world to use running a vehicle for personal transformation and social change."
Tell us more about Run 4 All Women...
"Run 4 All Women was an initiative I launched in January in response to the results of the election and the threat of Planned Parenthood being defunded. My idea was to run from Harlem to DC and raise $44,000 for Planned Parenthood; what ended up happening was far bigger than that. Hundreds of people joined me on the run along the way and we raised over $100,000 in less than 30 days. Due to the massive success and energy around using running as a form of protest and engagement, I decided that it was important we keep the momentum going. With the help of dear friends, I launched an ambassador program for women to similarly create events rooted in our newly formed guiding principles - empowerment thru fitness and advancing the conversation on women’s issues. Those 23 ambassadors come from around the US and Canada and have been powerful change agents over the past 8 months. This weekend, there will be 5 events - in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, California and NJ - led by our ambassadors that are all raising funds for their local Planned Parenthood affiliates; the events have raised $30,000 to date. For more information: crowdrise.com/Run4AllWomen."
How has being a brand ambassador for Under Armour impacted your life?
"Working with Under Armour has been incredible and life-changing; UA has really amplified my voice and my story, allowing my message to resonate with women everywhere. I’m currently featured alongside American Ballet Theatre® principal ballerina Misty Copeland, world champion sprinter Natasha Hastings, professional stuntwoman Jessie Graff, and Chinese taekwondo champion and actress Zoe Zhang (Lanxin Zhang) in Under Armor’s latest global campaign, Unlike Any, which celebrates and honors the unprecedented achievements of female athletes that rise above gender comparisons and stand on their own as marvels of athletic prowess."
Any recent projects we should be on a lookout for?
"I just launched the podcast Finding Meaning (on the RUN), available on iTunes, Google Music, SoundCloud and Stitcher! Find Meaning (On the RUN) offers conversations with powerful and inspiring people in the world of sport and beyond, uncovering how they find meaning. The show demystifies what makes people tick and, as a result, how they achieve greatness. My first episode features my fiance, Amir Figueroa (@alacrityamir); and yes, I’m still basking in my engagement, less than a month ago!"
What is your day to day look like?
"My day to day is hard to describe; no two days are alike! I am thankful to be able to work from home and really create my own schedule. I spend a lot of time planning for future events, answering emails, hosting runs, connecting with Harlem Run leaders and Run 4 All Women ambassadors. My schedule allows for a lot of collaboration and creativity, which I think are the foundations of success."
This Sunday, August 13th, a few women will be running from Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester to Thomas Park in South Boston in an effort to raise awareness for PP. Total Mileage: 50 miles. Everyone is encourage to join in on the run or welcome back runners at the end point in Thomas Park.
For more information and to donate, CLICK HERE.