First American Wins NY Marathon in 40 Years
By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
December / January 2018
With a finish time of 2 hours 26 minutes, Shalane Flanagan (below) became the first American in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon in November. It was her first major international win after more than a decade of professional racing.
Flanagan, who was raised in an Irish American household in Marblehead, MA, represented the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, winning the bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race. The medal was changed to silver this August when it was revealed that the second-place finisher had failed a drug test.
Outside racing, Flanagan has been a fierce supporter of female runners. When she joined the Portland, Oregon-based distance group Bowerman Track Club in 2009, she was the only woman, but worked with the club’s founder to establish a team of all-female distance runners. Last year, all 11 of her running partners made it to the Olympics.
“I thoroughly enjoy working with other women,” Flanagan told the New York Times. “I think it makes me a better athlete and person. It allows me to have more passion toward my training and racing. When we achieve great things on our own, it doesn’t feel nearly as special.” ♦
One is reminder of the 1974 Boston Marathon, which was won by Limerick man Neil Cusack.
Another famous Flanagan now comes to mind. He was John Flanagan, a native of the Kilmallock area in east Limerick, who came to New York in 1897 and later joined the Police Department. As a contestant in the hammer-throwing event, the Limerick man won a Gold Medal at the 1900 Olympics in Paris, a Gold Medal at the 1904 Olympics at St. Louis in 1904, and a 3rd Gold Medal at the Paris Olympics in 1908.