As a runner and educator I am always thrilled to come across young women who embody the “Scholar-Athlete.” Lauren Bonds of the Adidas Raleigh Track Club and Duke University Law School is one such young lady. I was honored to catch up with Lauren in Eugene, OR where she was taking time out from the rigors of law school to compete in the 1500 meters at the US Olympic Team Trials.
This year was quite a challenge for second-year law student Lauren Bonds juggling the training and traveling required of an elite runner with the demands of graduate school.
Bonds, from Hutchinson, Kansas, was a decorated student-athlete as an undergraduate at Kansas University. She steadily progressed from a 10:40 steeplechase and 2:11 800 meters as a freshman to setting school records and going to nationals as a senior. Along the way she was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team member and NCAA Academic All-American multiple times. She capped off her collegiate career as an All-American in the 1500 meters, the 2010 Prentice Gautt Scholarship and was named a 2009-2010 University of Kansas Woman of Distinction. Bonds also volunteered at a shelter and worked with Church World Services Immigrant and Refugee Program, Project Bridge: Translation Service, the Douglas County AIDS Project and Coalition for Immokalee Workers.
Lauren took her talents to Durham, NC in 2010 as a law student at Duke University and runner for the Adidas Raleigh Track Club. She is coached by her college coach and trains largely on her own at the Duke University track.
In the first year of law school, Bonds continued her steady improvement on the track, competing in both the indoor and outdoor USATF Championships. She PRed in the indoor 3,000 meters (9:14), indoor mile (4:34), outdoor 5,000 (15:50) and outdoor 1500 (4:13). Lauren also placed 4th at the US 1 Mile Road Championships.
The second year of law school is notorious for time consuming demands beyond the classroom, such as internships and job hunting. Lauren “burned the candle at both ends” running faster than ever before. Her improvements included a 9:08 (indoor 3,000 meters), 2:06 (indoor 800 meters), 15:45 (indoor 5,000 meters), 15:41 (outdoor 5,000 meters) and 4:11 (outdoor 1500 meters).
Lauren attributes persistence, time management, strong support systems and setting priorities to her continued success both on and off the track. There “is no reason I should be running this fast” exclaimed a modest Bonds. She views running as a constructive way to deal with stress and praised the support she receives from Adidas Raleigh Track Club Director Matt Wojciechowski.
Lauren is not surprisingly looking to her future. Civil rights law has captured her since a young girl growing up as a rare minority in Hutchinson, Kansas. She became “very aware of issues” plaguing immigrant workers and has worked with various organizations that fight for their back wages and educate workers about their workplace rights. When I asked Lauren about her dream job, her eyes lit up as she described the Workers Defence Project in Texas.
As an educator I know that young ladies like Lauren are unfortunately too rare. She is intelligent, confident, charismatic and driven. The Running Economist is excited to see what the future holds for Lauren on and off the track.
The best of luck to you Lauren and keep doing what you are doing. You are a role model for young ladies everywhere.