Fleshman crosses the finish line Saturday in London to take the 5000m.
Canyon Country native Lauren Fleshman burned up the track at London’s Crystal Palace on Saturday, taking the women’s 5,000 meter race in the Aviva London Grand Prix.
The 1999 Canyon High School graduate finished with a time of 15:00:57, nearly six seconds ahead of No. 2 Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain. It was the second fastest time posted by an American this year, and Fleshman’s second best all-time finish after her SCV record that still stands.
Fleshman won three consecutive NCAA 5k races and represented the U.S. in Paris and Helsinki in 2004 and 2005. Since that time, Fleshman, now 29 and living in Oregon, has fought a series of foot injuries that sidelined her for all of 2009. She bounced back in 2010 to take her second U.S. title.
Then, last Christmas, she sustained a stress reaction to her fourth metatarsal, removing her from competition from January to March.
She writes about her struggles as a professional runner on her blog, www.asklaurenfleshman.com.
“It was so awesome I can’t even describe it,” she blogged after winning Saturday’s race.
“It had been so long that I almost forgot how good it can feel to race when you are properly prepared. My body felt smooth and relaxed for eight whole laps.”
She said the hardest part was getting to the starting line.
Physical ailments had left her “shell-shocked, hyper-sensitive and mentally fragile,” she blogged.
She recently discovered she had a stomach ulcer that was causing cramps. She got treatment from a sports doctor in London, adjusted her diet, and started believing in herself again.
The combination enabled her to get her time down to 15:00 from 15:27 just eight days earlier in Stockholm.
“Lauren somehow always seems to stay positive, and I think a lot of young athletes, and even her peers, can learn from (her),” wrote Ryan Fenton of Flotrack under the headline, “Lauren Fleshman, Comeback of the Year in 2011?”
Are the 2012 Olympics in her future? Perhaps, if she can keep the momentum going.
The Aviva London Grand Prix is an annual event of the Samsung Diamond League, a series of track and field events under the aegis of the International Association of Athletics Federations, which governs world athletics. Diamond League competitors now move on to Zurich and Brussels for the 2011 season finals.