GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By MICHELLE HUANG
Shalane Flanagan ran off the charts when she broke records at the New York City Marathon.
Flanagan, a 36 year-old Oregon native, finished the New York City marathon on Nov. 5 in 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 53 seconds. After crossing the finish line, Flanagan became the first American woman to win the race in four decades. Flanagan’s win was well-deserved because she put an immeasurable effort in the race by training as often as she could, despite having health limitations.
Although Flanagan has been training for marathons and track races since elementary school, she faced a number of obstacles prior to the New York City Marathon.
For instance, despite running faster than any other American woman during the Boston Marathon in 2014, she only claimed seventh place overall. Furthermore, this year Flanagan had to withdraw her spot in the Boston Marathon in April due to a back injury. As such, Flanagan was quite uncertain about her chances of winning New York City Marathon prior to the race.
However, she was not discouraged when preparing for the New York Marathon. Flanagan had to train more strategically by putting more effort into her limited practices because she had just recovered from her back injury.
As a result, Flanagan started the race extremely humbled and was pleasantly surprised when she won first place. With her patience and determination, Flanagan was finally able to come home with a first place win, something she has dreamed of since her childhood.
Furthermore, Flanagan did not succumb to prejudiced claims in which women over 29 years old—the “golden age” for running—are unlikely to do well in marathons. Rather, Flanagan overcame this setback, proving that anyone can defeat challenges with enough willpower. Consequently, empowered by her win, many social media users commented that her stamina and strength encouraged themselves to work harder towards their goals.
Although winning was a milestone for her, Flanagan did not blind herself with conceited pride. Flanagan beat Kenyan runner Mary Keitany, who won the past three years. In third place was first-time marathoner Ethiopian Mamitu Daska. After crossing the finish line, Flanagan congratulated Keitany and Daska after they finished their races.
Such respect for her fellow marathoners set an example to everyone watching, emphasizing the importance of staying humble and modest even when one is at their peak performance. If people suddenly change their personality after winning a huge victory, their actions will expose their shallow personality.
Despite all of her setbacks, Flanagan demonstrated that anyone can fulfill their dreams and overcome any obstacle they face—all it takes is willpower and determination to meet goals.