A memoir and manifesto about women and sports, told through the experiences of a highly decorated runner. From the time Lauren first laced up her sneakers to out-sprint the boys in her neighborhood, though puberty when half of all girls abandon sports for good, and into elite running where she had to be “fast and fuckable” to fit into the Nike machine, Lauren felt she was bumping into a system that was not made for her.
GOOD FOR A GIRL:
A Life Running In A Man’s World
by Lauren Fleshman
Penguin Press, TBD 2022
(via Levine, Greenberg, Rostan)
Lauren Fleshman is very, very good at running. She was a two-time USA Champion, finished 7th in the world, and is widely known for having a devastating (but entertaining to watch) finishing kick. For the past 25 years, she can now clearly see that at every step of the way she was bumping up against a system that was never made for her. This is a #metoo story that follows Lauren while she racked up the miles:
● From puberty, where sports diverge by gender, where boys develop the types of bodies sports were designed around, and 50% of girls quit.
● To college, where she entered a system built by and for men, one full of cracks to fall through and landmines to step on, that refused to acknowledge and account for the different physiology of women who were consistently hurting themselves to fit in.
● To being a professional runner for Nike where she learned that she needed to be Fast and Fuckable to succeed in their marketing machinery.
Running is the highest participatory sport in the world, and women are taking it over. In one generation we’ve gone from being pulled off the Boston marathon course for the crime of running while female to making up 60% of the 59 million Americans who run and the 18 million who race. It’s a women’s sport now, and we are only just beginning to realize it.
Lauren Fleshman is considered one of the greatest distance runners in USA history. Her professional racing career saw two USA Championship Titles and five World Championship berths for Team USA. She is endeared as much for her failures as her accomplishments, because of her unique approach to sport and legacy in the running community. Her influence has remained strong since retiring from elite racing in 2016, when she transitioned to Head Coach of Little Wing Athletics, the only woman led, woman run, woman sponsored professional running team in the world. Lauren currently serves on the Board of Directors for USATF, advocating for better governance, safe sport, and the protection of athlete’s rights.