Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Flanagan’s Record Quest


By Vanrensselaer Townsend

Shalane Flanagan is no shy debutante on the Marathon Dance Floor. Don’t let her perky cheekbones and blonde ponytail fool you. This woman is driven and direct. Witness Shalane’s spot on 60 Minutes last April: she flat out announced to a national television audience that she was in the next week’s Boston Marathon to win it. Not do her best. Not try her hardest. No, she was there to win it for her hometown Boston. She told us how much the 2014 race meant to her after the senseless bombings at the previous year’s finish line. Shalane poured out her emotions. She wore her heart on her singlet.

And she almost pulled it off. Shalane broke every checkpoint Boston record all the way through the 30k mark as she ripped off a “fetch this” pace , a full
shadow ahead of her Kenyan and Ethiopian competitors who expected the usual tactical group-pack race. At 19 miles, Shalane began paying the lactate price. What surprised me was how tough she was when the wheels came off. As most of us know, when we reach that awful point in the Full Mary, the wheels not only come off, they roll away into a ditch somewhere. We start losing minutes per mile. But as trailing women passed Shalane, she didn’t crater. Crossing the finish line in 7th place, she set a PR by 3 minutes, running 2:22:02. Boston doesn’t allow pacemakers, but by throwing down the gauntlet, Shalane set up not one, but two course records as Rita Jeptoo and Buzunesh Deba both broke 2:20. They should send Flanagan a check!

Cut to Berlin. Shalane is gunning for the American Record. She’s already got the 10k pistol in her holster. It’s time to Tear down that Wall.”

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