The five-time Ironman winner has had a tough year full of illness and injury.

For the first time since 2005, the Ironman World Championship professional start list will not include American Linsey Corbin. The five-time Ironman winner has had a tough year full of illness and injury. Currently, she is in the process of recovering from a stress fracture and will not be able to race in time to get enough points before the qualification deadline.

After a 12th-place finish at the 2014 Ironman World Championship, Corbin came into this year with high hopes and looked to kick off her season at the Ironman African Championships in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa back on March 29. After traveling to South Africa, she picked up an infection in her lungs and was forced to sit out the event. Corbin returned to the United States and prepared for the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships in St. George (May 2) as a way of leading in to the Ironman North American Championships in the Woodlands, Texas (May 16). Corbin finished 10th in St. George and traveled to The Woodlands, but suffered a hip flexor strain and was once again forced to withdraw from an Ironman.

“When I landed in Texas I thought I had a sore hip flexor,” Corbin said in a press release. “Two days later, I knew something wasn’t right.” She found herself at Sterling Ridge Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, seeking help from orthopedist Dr. Keith Johnson. An MRI revealed a pulled hip flexor and Corbin once again boarded a plane home, days before the gun fired in Texas.

Back in Bend, she resumed recovery with her physiotherapist, Jay Dicharry. After days of testing, Dicharry recommended a second MRI to rule out a torn hip labrum or stress fracture. The radiology results were not what Corbin wanted to hear. “The labrum looked great, but they found a small stress fracture in my femur. I can still hear them reading results. It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Corbin said. Dr. Johnson’s radiology team confirmed these results. “This is the weirdest location for a running stress fracture I’ve ever seen,” Johnson stated. “From a bone health perspective, everything looks great. I think it was a freak combination of sickness and events.”

Corbin’s recovery time was estimated at 8-12 weeks, starting with crutches and eventually progressing to a run. “Looking at the race schedule, I thought I could travel to Europe in August and still qualify for the Ironman World Championship,” said Corbin.

Her first attempt at a run in mid-July brought some discomfort and a third MRI to evaluate the status of the stress fracture. The results revealed healing in the cortex of the bone, but not to the level necessary to pursue the targeted European race she had on the calendar. “It has been really, really, tough. I cried on the couch for a couple of days and then dusted myself off,” Corbin admitted. “It’s easy to look back at all the mistakes you made along the way. All you can do is learn from this and move forward.”

Corbin has notified her long time sponsors (Trek, Saucony, Clif Bar, Oakley, Giro, Sram, Quarq, Bontrager, Roka, Big Sky Brewing, Normatec, Speedplay, & REP lab) over recent weeks. “I’m lucky to have worked closely with my existing sponsors for most of my career. It’s refreshing to hear the support coming from these companies,” Corbin said. “I’ve also received some heartfelt messages from fans and even competitors that have meant an awful lot to me. The truth is I’m as hungry as ever. This setback has reminded me how much I love this sport, and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Keep up with Corbin on Twitter at @LinseyCorbin and online at Linseycorbin.com.

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