Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan completes her quest: 6 marathons in 6 weeks

NEW YORK — It’s not unusual for elite runners to take up to six weeks off running after a grueling marathon.

Then there’s Shalane Flanagan, 40, the 2017 New York City Marathon champion, who did the opposite. With all six of the world’s major marathons packed into several weeks this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, Flanagan had the opportunity to do something extraordinary. He decided to drive them all – Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and New York – in less than three hours each.

Flanagan, who is retired from professional running, traveled nearly 10,000 miles round-trip to Berlin and London with her baby son. She ran Chicago and Boston on back-to-back days. Organizers eventually canceled the Tokyo race, but Flanagan still ran the marathon on his own near his home in Oregon two weeks earlier. His slowest time was in Chicago, which he completed in 2 hours 46 minutes 39 seconds. He finished three races in less than 2:40, including an extremely fast 2:35:04 in London.

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But she saved her best for last, finishing in 2:33:32 in New York.

Flanagan, the coach of Nike’s Bowerman Track Club in Portland, has finally completed his search, which looked ridiculous when it first went public.

Ridiculous, that is, to everyone except him.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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