It was a small personal best. But by running 68:32 on Sunday’s Rock ‘n Roll Half in New Orleans, Shalane Flanagan moved into the #3 spot on the US all-time performer list, ahead of the legendary Joan Benoit Samuelsson. Shaving five seconds off a previous lifetime best of 68:37, the Massachusetts-native leap-frogged her fellow New England star in Samuelsson, and showed very good fitness for the Boston Marathon on April 15th.
Shalane finished as runner-up in the race to two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar, beating teammate (and US #2) Kara Goucher and Olympian Helen Clitheroe to do so. Flanagan now owns three of the top 10 American performances all-time — despite never training specifically for a race at the 13.1-mile distance.