Who is Shalane Flanagan?
The third and final member of the Women’s Olympic Marathon team is Mrs. Shalane Flanagan, who has her own ties to North Carolina as a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not my favorite school (Go Wolfpack!), but nonetheless, it’s pretty cool the Olympian ran many miles just down the street from here. In fact, I saw on her Twitter page a while back that her favorite place to run in NC is the American Tobacco Trail. Now every time I’m out there running, I keep my eye out for a really fast blond girl with compression socks. I haven’t seen her yet – maybe after the Olympics. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Shalane has it in her blood to be an amazing runner. Her mother set a world record in the marathon on her first try (Cheryl Bridges, 2:49), and her father was a World Cross Country Champion participant as well as a pretty fast marathoner (2:18). In school, Shalane had a pretty diverse background in running, swimming, soccer, and art. Her running skills are no different. Not only is she a pretty amazing marathoner, she is also a US record holder in the 3K, 5K, and 10K. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became only the second woman to win a medal in the 10,000 meters. Her time of 30:22:22 set a new American record (which was previously held by… well, herself), and got her a spot on the podium with a bronze medal.
After the Olympics, she began working with a new coach, Jerry Schumacher. Since then she has had a strong presence in the long distance running world. In 2010 she competed in and won her first ever half marathon with a time of 1:09:41 (and set a course record). That same year, she competed in her first ever marathon and came in 2nd place with a time of 2:28:40 – the best finish for an American woman in 20 years at the NYC marathon. You can see just how happy she is here in this video. In only her second ever marathon, she PR’d by 3 minutes and secured herself a spot on the Olympic Marathon team with a time of 2:25:38. Although the marathon is where her focus is for London, she is actually competing in the 10,000 meters Olympic Trials tonight. (You can follow the Trials here on Runner’s World.)
Some other random things about Shalane are she currently trains with team member Kara Goucher, she is married to Steven Edwards (also a track and field star from the University of North Carolina), and during a period of time when she was injured, it was discovered that she had an extra bone in her foot. Shalane has a blog that she updates about once a month, you can follow her on Pinterest, and her and Kara have some pretty entertaining videos with Innovation for Endurance.
So there you have it. The three fabulous ladies competing in the marathon on August 5th. They are all amazing, classy ladies, with many great accomplishments and I am so excited to watch this event. And in all seriousness, I think I’m having a marathon party. Who wants to come?
Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher, Amy Hastings
Photo Courtesy of Meghan Hegarty
Happy Trails and Happy Running,