Meet Alisha Brown, the visionary philanthropist, track star, and Executive Director of Project Run Madera. Her life's journey, fueled by running and resilience, has led her to inspire and empower countless lives through her nonprofit. Alisha's passion for giving back and helping underprivileged youth defines her as a true champion both on and off the track.
Born and raised in Madera, California, Alisha's early life was filled with challenges. Raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet, Alisha's boundless energy and competitive spirit found an outlet when she joined an AAU track team in the fourth grade. It didn't take long to discover her natural talent for running.
As a member of a travel track team, Alisha excelled in various sprint events. In 2001, she even qualified for the Junior Olympics, although financial constraints prevented her from competing. Her journey to excellence had just begun.
In high school, Alisha started taking distance running more seriously, and in high school, she tackled the 800 meters and 1600 meters, achieving personal records of 2:11 and 4:54, respectively. However, her family's limited resources posed a challenge, and she made do with the best running shoes she could afford.
A pivotal moment came when a teammate lent her a pair of running shoes, relieving her from the foot pain that had halted her training. Over time, Alisha realized the profound impact of having the right gear, and her coaches and family stepped in to ensure she had the essentials. Running became Alisha's source of fresh air and determination, pushing her to achieve a full-ride scholarship at a state university, where she ran for four years. She had her son the summer before her fifth year, and was restricted from competing at the collegiate level. She took it upon herself to train and go Pro. After missing the Women's 800m Olympic Trials Qualifier by 26 hundredths of a second (0:00.26), in 2016 Alisha's incredible journey reached a milestone when she secured her first professional contract as a sponsored athlete with Oiselle.
Recognizing the importance of paying it forward, Alisha established Project Run Madera, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping young individuals who face the same struggles she endured during her upbringing. Oiselle/Bras For Girls joined her efforts, providing sports bra donations to support local athletes. Soon after the establishment of Project Run Madera, Fleet Feet Fresno partnered with PRM to help in providing running shoes.
Through Project Run Madera, Alisha strives to assist those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, believing that every child deserves the opportunity to realize their potential. Her love for running, combined with her commitment to giving back, has become the driving force behind her life's work.
Alisha's journey has been filled with achievements and the support of the running community, which has armed her with the tools, mindset, and resilience needed for success. Today, as a high school history teacher and mother, she finds greater fulfillment in helping others even more than in any personal victory on the track. Her contributions are a testament to the profound impact one person can have on countless lives, inspiring hope, and dreams in others through the power of running. As the Executive Director of Project Run Madera, Alisha is determined to make a difference that lasts a lifetime.