Monday, October 21, 2019

Flanagan calls time on her career

Shalane Flanagan has announced her retirement from competitive running, with the 38-year-old Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete bringing the curtain down on one of the great careers in global distance-running.

Flanagan blazed a trail for all US distance runners over the past two decades, amassing an astonishing record of achievements at the very highest level on a variety of surfaces. She was the 2008 Olympic silver medalist over 10,000m, a bronze medalist at the World Cross Country in 2011, but perhaps her true crowning glory arrived in November 2017, where Flanagan upset the odds to take victory at the New York City Marathon. It proved to be one of the great days in US distance running as she defeated Kenya’s Mary Keitany and hit the finish crying tears of joy.

During her 15-year professional career she competed in four Olympic Games and set numerous American records. For more on her retirement, check out this superb interview with Erin Strout of Women’s Running, and this story by Runner’s World.

At Kimbia, it has been an honor for us to represent Flanagan over the years, an athlete who has been defined by her resiliency, her work ethic, her respect for the values of clean sport and one who has inspired a generation of distance runners both in the US and around the world. We wish her the very best on the next step.

In a statement posted on Instagram earlier today, she said:

With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running. From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride! I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I’ve experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I’ve loved (and learned from) it all. Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible.Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year. No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life.

“However, I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it’s more and more about those around me. All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN. So I’m carrying this to coaching. I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be. I am privileged to announce I am now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club.”

“This amazing opportunity in front of me, to give back to the sport, that gave me so much, is not lost on me. I’ve pinched myself numerous times to make sure this is real. I am well aware that retirement for professional athletes can be an extremely hard transition. I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me.

“I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.
“I would like to thank: The 5 coaches who guided me throughout my career, Michael Whittlesey and Dennis Craddock (2004-2005), John Cook (2006-2008), Jerry Schumacher (2009-2019), and Pascal Dobert (2009-2019). Each man was instrumental in developing me into the best version of myself.

“Jerry, Pascal and I will continue to work together in this next chapter and I couldn’t be more grateful. Jerry has been my life coach, running coach and now will mentor me towards my next goal of becoming a world-class coach myself. I’m thankful for his unending belief in me.
My family and husband who have traveled the world supporting my running and understanding the sacrifices I needed to make. Their unconditional love is what fueled my training.

“My longtime friend, Elyse Kopecky who taught me to love cooking and indulge in nourishing food. Run Fast. Eat Slow. has been a gift to my running and to the thousands of athletes.

My teammates, and all the women I’ve trained with, for pushing me daily, and the endless smiles and miles.
They include:
Erin Donahue
Shannon Rowbury
Kara Goucher
Lisa Uhl
Emily Infeld
Amy Cragg
Colleen Quigley
Courtney Frerichs
Shelby Houlihan
Betsy Saina
Marielle Hall
Gwen Jorgensen
Kate Grace
My sponsor Nike for believing in me since 2004 and for continuing to support my new dream as a professional coach. I hope I made myself a better person by running. I hope I made those around me better. I hope I made my competition better. I hope I left the sport better because I was a part of it. My personal motto through out my career has been to make decisions that leave me with “no regrets”…..but to be honest, I have one.
I regret I can’t do it all over again.”


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