We saw Shalane, her husband and her coach, Jerry Schumacher, come in this evening to the race headquarters. It was obvious that Shalane Flanagan is focused on this 26.2 mile run that she will do on Saturday, January 14, 2012, through downtown Houston.
Jon Gugala, the writer of this tome, considers Shalane Flanagan as running royalty. We think Jon is right about that !
by Jon Gugala
photo by PhotoRun.net
You can talk about your Davilas, your Gouchers, and your dark-horse picks for the 2012 Olympic team trials in Houston. But examine enough top-three lists and you'll find a common denominator: Shalane Flanagan, 30, of Portland, Ore. Why have so many predicted her podium finish among the deepest women's field ever to toe the line of a trials race? Here's why:
Flanagan has been weaned on running, and her high school state records and NCAA championships were as predictable as a lioness cub devouring her first wildebeest.
Then there's Flanagan's ability to produce staggering results her first time at bat.
Case in point: Flanagan debuted at the 10,000m in 2008 and set the American Record. She ran a half marathon for the first time at the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships, winning and setting a course record (1:09:45). Most pertinent, in her marathon debut at the New York City marathon in 2010, she kept a level head in one of the more bizarrely evolving, slow-starting World Marathon Majors races ever, and took the runner-up spot in 2:28:40, splitting a pair of women (Edna Kiplagat and Mary Keitany) that would run 2:20 and 2:19, respectively, the following spring.
Then over the summer, after another USATF 10,000m Championship, she gave a good scare to Molly Huddle, the current 5000m American Record-holder (which Flanagan formerly held), running 14:45 and 14:46 (the current record is 14:44.76) in the space of three weeks.
It's for these reasons that Flanagan enters the 2012 Olympic team trials as the favorite. In a sense, she has become her own worst enemy: Flanagan is the anticlimax, the rhetorical question, the foregone conclusion. She is the Harlem Globetrotters playing your local community college team. But coming from the stock that she has, this is her destiny. The princess stands poised to claim her crown in Houston.