ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Navajo distance runner Brandon Leslie had a very
strong end of 2005 and is now having an even stronger 2006, highlighted by
an excellent finish at February's USA Track and Field Winter Cross Country
Championships in New York. His performance there will provide him the
opportunity to represent the United States as a member of Team USA at the
World Cross Country Championships in Japan April 1 -- 2.
His Houston Half Marathon seventh-place finish gave him a half-marathon
with a 1:03:10 time. After placing 21st at the 10,000 meter at the Olympic
trials the summer of 2004 in Sacramento, Calif., Leslie has become more
determined to focus on becoming one of the best American runners and
representing the Navajo Nation. He continues to set personal bests in
events in which he enters.
Born on the Navajo reservation in an area called Church Rock, Leslie grew
up amid great adversity, where people live without electricity or running
water. It is a way of life that affects many peoples' ability to strive for
excellence -- but not Leslie's.
Leslie's post-collegiate competition began at the 2001 GMC Envoy U.S.
Championships in the 10,000-meter, where he placed 12th. His successes and
consistency continued with strong finishes at the World Games in Beijing,
China in 2001, and road races in the United States.
Leslie has placed in the top five in all 5,000-meter indoor races entered,
top 5 in all 5,000-meter outdoor races entered, top five in half of all
10,000 meter outdoor events entered, and top seven in all half-marathons he
has entered. At Adams State College, he achieved eight All-American titles
and nine All-American titles at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.
In addition, he was ASC and SIPI's Most Valuable Player and inducted into
the Adams State Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. After college, Brandon has run
for the Native American Sports Councils' Sports Warriors and trained with
Team Running USA in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
As a husband, father of three and athlete, Leslie remembers the great
American Indian runners Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills, who continue to inspire
his quest to excel in running.