This is my journal for the month from March 25 to April 22, where I have travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Paris, France, London, England and Boston, MA, covering the Spring road racing season.
On my arrival from London, I got to my room in the CharlesMark, and checked out a Sixty Minutes segment that aired Sunday night on Shalane Flanagan, hometown girl with a good shot at Boston. As there have been no American winners since 1983, the drought is long and often discussed.
Shalane Flanagan is from Marblehead, and was a fine cross country and track runner in high school. At Duke University, Shalane was a stud, winning cross country and track titles galore. After college, Shalane Flanagan developed into a fine distance runner, setting the AR at 10,000 meters (and 5,000 meters) and taking the bronze medal at the 10,000 meters in Beijing in 2008.
In 2011, Shalane Flanagan, under the watchful eye of Jerry Schumacher, ran her first marathon, the ING NYCM and placed second to Edna Kiplagat. Shalane was not a happy camper. And how could you expect? Shalane Flanagan is a sports warrior, she wants to win, and when she doesn't, well, she is prone to introspection and wants to come back and just do it.
In 2013, the plucky Flanagan ran Boston for the first time and placed fourth. Not many hours after her finish, and just after her sisters finish, two bombs shattered the iconic Boston. Flanagan was not happy. Her quote from Runners' World " I am just pissed off."
No one would have thought that some sociopaths would bomb the most iconic marathon in the world. But, the goal in this day and age, for sociopathic groups large and small is to get your bombs and act of terrorism shown on the screen every 35 seconds. Boston Marathon bombing was shown ad nauseum.
Whether that is good or back, I can not discuss here. I am way too close to what happened last year and the constant showings of the video are not making it better.
Where I am today is that, Shalane Flanagan is such a combination, and this is wonderful, of piss and vinegar, that she has a pretty darn good shot at making the podium in Boston. There would be nothing more that the crowd of Boston would love than one of their own to win the laurel wreath.
Shalane Flanagan has matured. As a runner, as a person, as a woman. She seems comfortable in her own skin. Her feature on Sixty Minutes was the best piece on our sport shown in the US in years. Anderson Cooper and his producer at CBS should be commended.
In the end, Shalane Flanagan will make her mark over the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday, April 21, 2014.
And I will be there, teary eyed as I am each year, hoping that Shalane Flanagan is there on the podium.