A Lot Has Changed In A Year For Shalane Flanagan

Shalane Flanagan liked commentating, but she wants to race again

One year ago, four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan was sidelined from contending for the win at her hometown race, the Boston Marathon, with a devastating back injury. Instead of competing, she helped the local news station commentate on the race. The 36-year-old inconceivably won her first Abbott World Marathon Major seven months later at the New York City Marathon as the first American woman to do so in 40 years, and is now a favorite to break the Americans' 33-year title drought at the 2018 Boston Marathon

Below is the transcript of an interview we did with Shalane after last year's Boston Marathonwhen the Massachusetts native had no way of knowing what was to come...

On commentating the 2017 Boston Marathon.

It was definitely a different role. I would prefer to be racing, for sure, but I had a lot of fun, actually. I was up there at the finish on the Sky Bridge with WBZ with Toni Reavis and Lisa Hughes. They made it easy on me because they're such pros. 

It was fun to sit there and analyze the race. It was just like if I'm sitting on my couch at home, sharing insight and knowledge about the runners and—with the exception of removing a few swear words every now and then—we had a really fun time. Something maybe to do in the future. I enjoyed myself. 

Thoughts on the race.

[Jordan Hasay's 2:23]... that is the fastest debut by an American and the fourth-fastest marathon ever by an American, so a huge accomplishment for her first one. And it's Boston. The weather wasn't ideal, they did have a bit of a tailwind, but it was warm. Honestly, it was a great performance.

Edna Kiplagat was totally dominant for 38 years old, to run that well. She's done it all. This was her fifth major marathon and this was a bucket list for her. I actually trained with her a little bit this fall after she ran Chicago and got second. She's very composed, very relaxed, and she has so much training in her body that she doesn't actually have to do as much anymore because she has had years and years of work. I knew she'd be dangerous today because she has so much knowledge of how to race and is a great tactician. When I saw her throw down a 5:05 at mile 20, which was the same pace and the same split that the men ran, I thought, "There's no way anyone's gonna catch her today; she's having a really great day."

On visualizing herself in the competition.

I didn't. I really was invested in the athletes that were competing. After everything concluded and all the athletes crossed the line, I was looking at Edna's splits and thought, "That's what it takes." You really have to to be able to run those hills really well. It's a decisive moment and it always is, the Newton Hills and how you come off of it. It's inspiring and shows what kind of work I need to do. 

On her injury status.

I am fully healed. I am about week two back running. I didn't run today because I had quite a busy day and I'm off to the airport to head home to Oregon. Things are pretty good. It's a little bit tentative running just because I'm so afraid of getting reinjured. All things are good; I just have to be careful the next month to make sure everything's good to go.

Timeline for return to workouts, racing.

I haven't sat down with my coach yet to formalize a plan. I'd love to be racing again in June and July. I definitely need a month of solid workouts, probably the month of May. I would hate to go a full year and not race until August, because my last race was Rio, so I would not like that to happen. I have a few bucket list races I would love to run, Falmouth is one—I'm from the Boston area. I'll sit down and formulate a plan soon.

How did today inspire you?

It inspired me to not be on the Sky Bridge and to be back actually racing. That was a great motivation. I had so much fun commentating today and sharing my knowledge of the course and my passion for my sport, and passion for Boston Marathon, but there's something to be said... I don't like feeling like I'm missing out on opportunities to represent my country well. It was inspiring to get back healthy and get back racing.

New Mexico, Kurgat Kick Off Title Defense At Nuttycombe

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Ednah Kurgat doesn’t hide her preference for cross country. 

Amy Cragg Withdraws From Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon women's field is down another American. 

House Of Run: Hasay's Future, WADA Decision, Off-Season Questions

Jason and Kevin discuss the biggest questions in the aftermath of the 2018 track season including the status of Wayde Van Niekerk, the future of Allyson Felix and how the 2019 World Championships schedule will impact the rest of the season.

PLAY NOW: 2018 FloXC Fantasy League

Introducing the season long FloXC fantasy league. A chance for you to compete against the FloTrack staff and be in the running to win a FloPRO subscription for a year!

Oregon Shows Off Their Revamped Roster | NCAA XC Recap

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

There was a point in the summer when the Oregon women’s cross country team appeared to be on shaky ground. When the 2018 cross country roster was released in August, it lacked Katie Rainsberger and Lilli Burdon—two All-Americans at the core of a Ducks squad primed for another top-five finish at the national championships. 

NCAA XC DII/DIII Recap: DIII Showdown Will Shake Up Rankings

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

It was a relatively quiet week in the NCAA cross country scene, as most teams rested while looking forward to a busy weekend to come. A majority of the top squads in DII and DIII raced the previous weekend, so a softer slate of meets was to be expected.

Top XC Freshmen In The NCAA So Far...

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

As we head into the last week of September, let's take a look at the top freshmen and redshirt freshmen in the nation who have made their NCAA XC debuts.

Crazy Depth: BYU's JV Team Could Finish Top 15 At NCAAs

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

If any team has a shot to dethrone the two-time defending NCAA champions, the Northern Arizona men, at nationals this November, it’s No. 2-ranked BYU. 

Anatomy Of A NCAA Women's Championships XC Team

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Last week, we dug into the last 20 years of the men's results from the NCAA Cross Country Championships to identify some commonalities among the championship teams. The analysis didn’t yield definitive rules to win a title, but it did provide some guidelines.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

How Men's XC All-Americans Fare The Following Season

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

The standard for individual excellence in NCAA cross country is quite clear: finish in the top 40 at nationals. By doing so, an athlete earns All-American status, a title that carries significant weight on a distance runner’s résumé.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In