RunBlogRun opines: It has been fun watching Shalane Flanagan develop through her career. I recall running in some races with her father, Steve Flanagan, and have been fortunate to work with her mom, Cheryl Treworgy, on some some photography projects in track & field.
Originally posted November 17, 2017
Reposted December 13, 2017
Shalane Flanagan won the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon, ending a drought that went from 1977, with the late Miki Gorman being the last American to win the New York City Marathon. How big was Shalane Flanagan’s win? Probably the biggest thing in running since Joan Benoit Samuelson winning 1985 Bank of American Chicago Marathon! How big will Shalane, Molly, Jordan and Desi be in 2018 Boston? Epic!
Shalane Flanagan has evolved into one of the finest American distance runners on any era. Shalane was raised in the Marblehead area of Massechuesetts, and ran as a high schooler in one of the finest high school states to run track and cross country. At UNC-Chapel HIll, Shalane developed into a fine athlete, and she ran and won NCAA cross country in 2002 and 2003. Her hard charging racing style gave the Tar Heels their first individual NCAA champion in the sport of cross country. She was coached by John Cook from 2004-2008. Cook was old school, and Shalane Flanagan took long warm ups and extensive cooldowns, as well as some serious European style training.
At the Payton Jordan Invite in 2008, Shalane Flanagan and Kim Smith battled, lap after relentless lap. Kim Smith was one tough hombre, and she and Shalane Flanagan battled to the end, 30:34.49 to 30:35.54. This was one of the most exceptional battles among the great races run in Palo Alto on those cool Spring nights, when the gods of running whisper: “Just a little faster.”Shalane broke Deena Kastors AR over 10,000m that night.
Watching Shalane in Beijing in 2008 was pretty phenomenal. The ten thousand meters in a global champioinships is particularly difficut event. Shalane kept her cool, and ran an AR as well as the bronze medal performance in the Bird’s Nest stadium. It was, as all were, a hot and humid nights. Shalane Flanagan got into a groove and did not quit, did not do the survival shuffle, but battled on, running 30:22.22.
Shalane Flanagan ran her first marathon in November 2010. She took second at New York, and she was not a happy camper. The competitiveness that flows in Flanagan’s veins reminds her that victory is near, just not how near.
Her tenth place in London for the marathon in 2012 showed where she was going. I remember a nice chat in 2014 with Jerry Schumacher, her coach since 2009, and his confidence in Shalane. He knew she had great talent and great races in her and that she would win the big one one day. Schumacher would never say that on the record, he is just not that way. Jerry Schumacher wants his athletes to get the accolades. He has never seen an interview of himself that he has liked. That is just no him. But, Jerry made it quite clear that Shalane Flanagan was a special athlete. Jerry Schumacher’s smile when he spoke of her running, and her drive said it all. And Coach Schumacher was right.
In 2016, Shalane Flanagan should not have made the team, based off her fitness. But, she willed herself to the win. It was amazingly emotional to watch such an athlete somehow get across that line. Her Rio run, finishing in sixth, as an amazing performance. After her Boston runs, and Berlin runs, Shalane Flanagan had run fast, but some wondered, would she ever win over 26. 2 miles?
That day came on November 5, 2017, as Flanagan kept her competitiveness in check. She was in New York to make the podium, and perhaps, improve on her second. Mary Keitany could not perform and Shalane Flanagan broke Mamitu Daska and Keitany to take the win. Her last three miles were as vicious as they come, 5:11, 5:08, 5:04. Flanagan got stronger as she broke the competition.
How many cross country races did Shalane Flanagan run in her career? How many times did she break the fields over 6k, 8k, 10k in cross country, to win the races?
That cross country heritage did much to build her as a fine athlete. In the NCAA championships tomorrow, perhaps we will see a future Shalane Flanagan.
Cross country makes marathoners.