Missoula Marathon

Featured Guest: Alison Mariella Désir

June 28-29 at the Runner's Expo

The Missoula MarathonWeekend of Events is beyond thrilled to have Alison Mariella Désir join us for our race in 2024! Alison will be at the Runner’s Expo Friday and Saturday to meet, inspire, sign, books, and sell merchandise. She will also be participating in some of the weekends races so participants will get a chance to run with her!  


Alison Mariella Désir is multi-talented: a founder, a doer, an activist, a connector, a visionary and an unapologetically straightforward communicator with a passion for movement, mental health, and racial equity. Alison got her start in the running and outdoor industry unintentionally, after seeing a Black friend train and complete a marathon. Inspired, Alison went on to run her first marathon and discovered that she had found a powerful tool to manage her depression. She’s been working to share the transformational power of running and movement ever since.


Alison is the author of Running While Black and the tv host and producer of the award winning show, Out & Back w/ Alison Mariella Désir (now streaming).  Alison is the founder of Harlem Run, an NYC-based running movement, and Run 4 All Women, which has raised over $150,000 for Planned Parenthood and $270,000 for Black Voters Matter.


Alison is co-founder and former chair of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, a nonprofit that unites the running industry to provide resources, measure progress, and hold the industry accountable to equitable employment, leadership, and ownership positions and improve inclusion, visibility, and access for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.


In 2023, Alison was named as one of the “45 Most Adventurous Women of the Past 45 Years” by Men’s Journal and one of the “Changemakers of 2023” by Well + Good. In 2021 and 2022, Alison was named one of the “Power Women” by Women’s Running Magazine. She was also named one of the most influential African Americans, aged 25 to 45, by The Root 100. 


Alison has designed her own clothing collection with Oiselle (the AMD Collection) and created the first ever satin-lined running cap, made with Black women’s hair care needs in mind. Alison is currently sponsored by Brooks Running as part of the Run Happy Advocate team.

Alison holds her BA in History, MA in Latin American and Caribbean Regional Studies, and EdM in Counseling Psychology, all from Columbia University.


Alison sits on the advisory boards for Strava and &Mother and is an Athlete Ambassador for Athlete Ally. She lives outside of Seattle with her partner, Amir Muhammad Figueroa, and their son, Kouri Henri Figueroa.



About the Book:

In February 2017 my understanding of the running boom was completely changed. It all started when I learned about Ted Corbitt, who many have called the father of American distance running. When I learned about all of Ted’s incredible accomplishments I was in awe, A Black man represented the US in the marathon in the 1950s? After I discovered this history I felt compelled to keep learning and what I found was more overwhelming than I ever knew. We weren’t only there; we helped build the sport but our participation had been erased, buried. I would come to meet Gary Corbitt, Ted Corbitt’s son. When I asked him why he continued his father’s legacy and stories, Gary told me “Young Black runners need to know they have many role models and are part of a rich history.” Writing Running While Black and shedding light on all of the buried past, I am carrying the torch that had been lit. And I hope that together we can all continue to bring it forward.



Get to know Alison: instagram | website