Running Heroes #9: Shalane Flanagan

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Shalane Flanagan is an award-winning long-distance runner hailing from the United States.

Early Days

Shalane was born in 1981 in Marblehead, Massachusettes. Ever since her time in high school, she had developed an interest in sports, particularly distinguishing herself for her outstanding performances in cross-country and track. She was also proficient and active in other sporting disciplines, including soccer and even swimming.

In addition to her dedication to sports, Shalane also had other diverse interests, including art and painting. This is what led her to attend the art major program at school.

Start of a Pro Running Career

Shalane Flanagan during a track race

Shalane Flanagan during a track race

Having been a runner throughout high school, Shalane made the first steps into the professional world as early as 2004, where she excelled for her 3000 meter and 5000 meter performances, including an American record of 14:44,80 for the latter!

She also has an excellent 1500 meters record and won the short course competition at the USA Cross Country Championships for two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005.

Later in 2008, Shalane decided to take on a new, exciting challenge, running 10.000 meters for the very first time at the Stanford Payton Jordan. She managed to beat the American record and score a time of 30:34.49 (the former record was 30:50.32, held by runner Deena Kastor), eventually becoming the long-course national cross country champion for the first time later that year.

Beating Records

2008 was indeed a very special year for Shalane: she also earned her bronze medal at the Olympic games, which was since upgraded to silver! Her success in the United State led her to pursue opportunities across the world, and set out to earn her spot on the olympic teams for the Beijing olympic games. She also attended the world championships in Berlin, Germany, where she obtained the 14th place in the 10000m category, finishing at 31:32.19. She kept competing across the world the following years, including the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2012 and the New York Marathon in 2010 (she earned second place) among many other national and international sporting events.

Ultimately, Shalane is known for holding the American record times in several categories, such as 3000 meters and 5000 meters indoor, as well as 15k road race.

Boston Success Still to Come

Quite recently, Shalane had to unfortunately withdraw from the 2017 Boston Marathon, due to injuries.

After attending the event for over three times, Shalane admitted that the Boston Marathon was indeed one of her favorite hometown races, and giving up on the 2017 event had indeed been a hard choice, particularly because one of her dreams is to win it one day!

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