A former Tar Heel is the first American in 40 years to win New York.
Shalane Flanagan is 15 years removed from her days at UNC, and she is such an accomplished long-distance runner that her Wikipedia profile barely mentions her college accomplishments — which include the 2002 and 2003 national cross country titles she won after also excelling in high school swimming, soccer and track in her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts.
She comes from a running family. Her mother is the former Cheryl Bridges, now Cheryl Treworgy, a former marathon world record holder and five-time U.S. champion. Her father, Steve Flanagan, also competed in marathon world championships during his career.
Shalane was elevated from a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters at the 2007 World Championships – two years after it was ruled that the silver medalist failed a doping test. She heard about it on social media before being contacted by the International Olympic Committee.
Flanagan crossed the finish line Sunday in New York in the second-best American time of 2 hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds to also become the first American man or woman to win there since 2009. She was greeted by her husband, former UNC track and field star Steve Ashley Edwards, among others.
Besides holding records in the 3000 meters, 5000 meters and 15K road race, last year Flanagan wrote the best-selling cookbook “Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes” – No. 1 on Amazon under the “running and jogging” category.
Flanagan said she would retire if she ever won the New York Marathon, but now a slew of lucrative endorsements may keep her running for a few more years. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where she serves as the assistant cross country coach at Portland State, perhaps the most famous assistant in any sport anywhere. She began her coaching career as an assistant at Carolina before moving West.
The 5-foot-5, 106-pound blonde has won championships and or set significant track records in every year of her professional running career since 2008, culminating with what she calls her greatest accomplishment after breaking the tape on the upper West Side of Manhattan late Sunday morning.