Shalane Flanagan Will Return to the New York City Marathon This Year

With hopes to defend her title, Marblehead native Shalane Flanagan will return to New York City on Nov. 4.

Shalane Flanagan

Image via AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Maybe for professional athletes, claiming retirement is a bluff to throw off the competition. Maybe it’s just hard to turn off the competitive drive. Or maybe they just need a little break—might we just point a finger to the likes of Michael Jordan and Brett Favre? Joining their ranks now is marathoner and Marblehead native Shalane Flanagan, who also teased us with a potential retirement before announcing she’d be back.

The 37 year old marathon runner was supposed to be finished with competitive running after she victoriously crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon last year. But she wasn’t—she ran in the Boston Marathon in April, and she’s still not done. She announced in a new interview with the New York Times that she’ll be back at this year’s New York City Marathon on November 4.

“When I think about running New York, I get a feeling of ecstasy; my stomach turns,” she told the Times“It’s like if you’re dating someone and it goes well and you want more.” Last year, she was the first American woman in 40 years to win the race, and she hopes to be the first American woman since 1976 to repeat as champion.

During her career she’s made four U.S. Olympic teams, won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Summer Games, and her marathon personal best of 2:21:14 ranks her as one of the fastest American women of all time. But for someone who was thinking about throwing in the towel, her running is still improving. She recently paced a much younger teammate in an American record-setting 5,000-meter race and is recording some of the fastest training times she’s logged in eight years—not to mention she finished seventh under treacherous conditions at the Boston Marathon.

Her coach, Jerry Schumacher, told the Times she could have retired years ago and would still have been great. But is great good enough? It’s probably a question that’s on a lot of elite athletes’ minds—just how far can I go? For Flanagan, will November 4 be her final race, or will she make another push for Boston? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.