2023 Champ Laura Osman Will Return to Defend Title

Laura Osman was the 10K winner last year.
Photo: Rich Schmitt

In her first time running the 10K Will Roger race, Laura Osman of Encino, captured the women’s division.

She made it look easy last July, running 6:17 min/miles for a winning time of 38.59. The mother of two boys and a girl, Osman works part-time as English professor at Valley College.

“I love Will Rogers,” she told CTN in a phone interview and added that she plans to run again this year.

But, Osman’s story is more than running, it is a testament to courage.

In 2018, she discovered she had a BRCA1 gene mutation. That mutation can increase the risk of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, and prostate cancer. Woman with a BRCA1 mutation are about 50 times more likely to develop breast cancer by age 70 than women in the general US population. (Osman has written a story about the discovery and the surgeries, which CTN will run tomorrow.)

Osman who moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area did not start running until she was a freshman in high school. The Campolindo High P.E. Coach, Chris Walsh, saw her ability during a class and recruited her to be on the high school team.

“I just started running and just kept improving,” she said, and ran the one- and two-mile events for track and also cross country. By the time she graduated in 1999, she went to the state cross county meet and took 17th.

“I wasn’t the best,” she said, “but I improved really fast.”

Osman was good enough that colleges were looking at her and she started at U.C. San Diego, before transferring to U.C. Davis her sophomore year. In 2002, she was an All-American and took 7th in the nation in the 10,000-meter run.

After college she stopped competing, married had three children and “casually entered races on and off.”

Then she was diagnosed with BRCA 1. Osman had a double mastectomy, her ovaries removed and a hysterectomy.

Laura Osman raised money for a charity run, and then took first in the event.

“At 40 I had finished my surgeries,” Osman said, and then realized “at 40, I can run Masters.”

She joined the Cal Coast Masters and in 2023, her club took third at the national cross-country women masters in Tallahassee, Florida.

A press release noted: “Led by Liz Camy, Laura Osman, and Maggie Sheerer, the 8-women team ran hard and put their first three runners in the top 18 to bring home some hardware. This team will look to remain a dominant force for years to come.” The year before the team had captured 11th.

She also raised $5,000 for a charity 5K, before winning the event in a time of 18:40.  Osman’s charity was the Sharsheret organization, a national non-profit improving the lives of women and families living with or at increased genetic risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

After winning, she said, “As a BRCA 1 carrier myself, Sharsheret supported me through my three prophylactic surgeries including a double mastectomy. It is with gratitude that I can give back to this wonderful organization!!”

With three kids playing competitive sports, Osman tries to run 40 miles a week. “When I can get it in,” she said, but adds her kids are her priority.

Last year was her first-time running the Will Rogers race. “It’s not a course for the faint of heart,” Osman said. “This is a course you’re going to run because you love running.”

Laura Osman was part of a team that took third in the Master’s National Cross Country race.

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