February 21 2018
Karen Lyons started running to escape hardship–and couldn’t stop.
This is a part of our 15 Most Powerful Women in Running series. Who runs the world? Girls—obviously.
Professional Runner & Co-Founder, Picky Bars
One scroll through the Instagram of @FleshmanFlyer, and it’s clear that you are witnessing the unfiltered life of a Renaissance runner. Yes, she is one of the fastest women in the country, but Fleshman is so much more: mother to a toddler, wife to a professional triathlete, writer who inspires women and men around the world, partner and athlete with Oiselle, co-founder of Picky Bars, coach of elite female team Little Wing—oh, did we mention she plays guitar?
Fleshman is also a vocal supporter of athlete’s rights. She has taken bold stands on issues, including anti-doping, sponsor support and body expectations. The runner is shifting what it means to be a professional athlete, bashing open doors and inviting others to follow. Case in point: Fleshman’s 2012 decision to leave Nike to sign with a then-tiny women’s brand, Oiselle, out of Seattle. “There has been no other professional moment that has made me feel more in charge of my destiny, despite the inherent risks” she says. “When I signed on the line, I felt proud that I had done the work of identifying what I really wanted for myself, in a business relationship and for the sport.” The move, which was then unheard of, is now slowly becoming commonplace with athletes (like Kara Goucher) making moves to smaller sponsors, trading higher salaries for more control and higher equity.