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Sunday, 12 November 2017 22:29


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Flanagan, Daska, and Keitany at NYC. Flanagan, Daska, and Keitany at NYC.

By Carolyn Mather


Today Shalane Flanagan shared her success with 50,700 finishers and over 600 million viewers across the world who watched her race at the TCS New York City Marathon.A new footnote is that three American women went under 2:30 for the first time in race history.The finishers hailed from 125 nations and all 50 states.Race director, Peter Ciaccia stated that "New York was the center of the running world all weekend and held the greatest marathon in the world".Surely that echoed Shalane's feelings as she was still on an adrenaline high this morning having not slept and arising at 5:30am to appear on Good Morning America and with Kelly Ripa. She found herself eating pizza at 3:30am and reliving her dream come true.


I suspect she truly made her dream a reality for late finishers as she and Meb and a few other elites returned to the finish line late last evening to present medals to finishers. What an incredible treat that must have been for some unsuspecting but tired and elated runners.


 While having the winners present checks to their chosen charities this morning, the New York Roan Runners also honored Noah and Raine the first finishers in the kids race and had them present a check to Save the Children. Giving back is a way the NYRR awards $10,000 checks to the winners to donate to their favorite charity.


And although Meb was the story of the week, Shalane is the story of the moment.She has worked for this victory nearly all of her life. Having runners as parents set a model for her to pursue. She feels her parents and athletics have given her a never give up attitude and a strong work ethic.She stated that this job is "an all encompassing lifestyle that is 24/7".Right now she wants to live in the present moment and savor this victory and all of it's ramifications.She is feeling extreme joy,gratitude and validation. She views her victory as "the culmination of a lifetime of work".In 2010 she was second here and she quipped " it has taken seven years to move up one place".She called this race "my superbowl".


Nine months ago while preparing for the Boston Marathon she was diagnosed with a back fracture and had to withdraw from the race. She was really down but now sees it "as a blessing in disguise". She focused her gritty toughness and planned for a fall marathon. Her training has been perfect and she felt she was in sub 2:20 shape so her six minute negative split just let her run her pace. But she remained "running scared" all the way to the finish as spectators were not giving her information on what was happening behind her. She never looked back but realized she could not hear any cheering behind her or footsteps. Nevertheless she was keeping a little in reserve in case she needed it and was not assured of her victory until she saw the huge video at the finish with no one in sight.


After her breakaway Shalane looked more relaxed and like she was finally racing to the finish.Her form was perfect and she definitely looked in charge.She sees herself as a fairly stoic person so she was surprised by her overwhelming emotions as she won. She kept thinking of her list of reasons to get to the finish: for Meb, for the people impacted by the attack on NYC earlier in the week, and for all of her supporters. She said "it is not all about me but about all it took to get here and reach my potential".The victory brought every emotion to the forefront!


Her coach Jerry Schumacher had told her to be smart and intelligent in the race and clinical in running whatever it took. She was in the best shape ever in her life and it was time. Jerry knew she had the victory long before Shalane did.She celebrated with her coaches and family as she truly believes they deserve the credit. But I know the best in the world cannot make it happen if that fire does not burn within. And burn it does with Shalane.


After the hoopla dies down she will reassess her future plans as she had said if she won she would probably retire. Right now that decision is pending while she lives in the moment of her most dramatic and meaningful victory. Thank you Shalane for your American victory on the world's biggest stage. It is a victory for all of us!

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