It all started with Jesse Thomas (Lauren's husband) going to High School in Bend, Oregon. Over the following 15 years: Jesse goes to Stanford, Jesse bewitches Lauren, Lauren bewitches Jesse, love, a wedding, a reckless but intentional night of passion resulting in Limabean, a few stops along the way, and Lauren and Jesse ultimately decide to base themselves in Bend. Sarah and Bob Lesko also are Bend lovers, and upon further inspection all realized that Bend might be the best training grounds in the country...


1. The High Desert plateau is around 4000, perfect for interval and quality training, while the trails on the mountain reach 8000 feet...perfect for oxygen deficient aerobic training. 

2. The pollen count is 1/10 that of Eugene--ladies toss your Claritin and Asthma inhalers.

3. A small town, you are on beautifully manicured paths and trails within minutes. Either flats or hills, and almost never need to touch a crowned road.

4. Cheap enough to live and enough to do so the idle runner mind won't get bored.

5. Access to amazing world class PT resource who recently located to Bend.

6. And best of all, Chief Picky Bird Lauren Fleshman is there and anchor tenant for some hot 5k training in the future.  Bonus: they are tricking out their house with elite athlete treadmill, etc as base of operations.

*also Oiselle stud halfer Marci Gage already in town and training for 2016!


We wanted to start a group focusing on the 5k primarily, but with the flexibility to run the 3k-marathon. Also, knowing this was a "start-up" we were looking for Oiselles who we both knew really well personally, came from "inside the family", had already displayed overwhelming talent in their running careers, but had pushed through a couple of hard years and were on a come back trail. They also needed to be in a position to chuck everything, take the plunge with us and move out to the middle of the Oregon desert. 

From this spirit, Project Little Wing was born. Little Wing has the obvious Bird reference, but it is mostly inspired by the Jimi Hendrix song:

Well she's walking through the clouds
With a circus mind that's running round
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams and fairy tales
That's all she ever thinks about
Riding with the wind…
                          ...Fly on, Little Wing 


Many of us came into running or back to running later in life as an escape, a release, and a chance to dream big again. To have our alarms ring at 4:30am race day morning and be excited and anxious to put on our singlet and compete. You have to have a circus mind running round to put in the hours and effort needed to set your personal bests, to look forward to your Sunday long run group, and to wait for the starter gun to sound while you remind yourself to keep breathing. In the future we hope more folks move out to Bend (as they have to meccas like Boulder, Eugene, Mammoth in the past) to give running a shot post college, but in the short term we found three special women to join Lauren and Fly on…



Lauren Fleshman

Needs no introduction...2x US Champion, All time highest placed American in the 5k at the World Championship (7th, 2011), 14:58 5k PR.

Inspirational, hilarious and poignant blogger at Runners World columnist and blogger. And new mama. She is Tweeting @LaurenFleshman and Instagraming @FleshmanFlyer.


Betsy Flood

Iowa '12. 4x HS state champion in Iowa, 5x Big 10 Runner Up in the 1500m, 5k and 10k and 3x Second Team All American, was training in Boulder this past year and looking to set some long standing PRs from 800-10k. Sister of Oiselle intern and UW athlete Katie Flood.

Betsy is also the one who showed us that Des Moines is rad. She is Tweeting @betsyannflood and blogging at The Wonder Years.


Mel Lawrence

UW '12. NCAA runner up in the 3000sc in 2009 with PRs of 9:40 and 15:50 for 5k. After igniting the transformation of the UW women's distance program, she is now ready to take the next step as a professional athlete.

Mel is Tweeting @mellawrence29.


Christine Babcock

UW '13. ran 4:33 for 1600m in HS to set the American record which still stands. NCAA All-American in XC and Track. This year she set PR's in the mile and 3k indooors and set a 5k PR of 15:44 placing 11th at the US Championships to finish her college career.

Christine is Tweeting @CBabcockRun.

We’re excited to keep you up on all the Project Little Wing happenings. There’s nothing like watching a runner unapologetically chase down their dreams. We hope you’ll follow along for the adventure… every peak and valley.

Fly on, Little Wing!
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