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Olympic Medalist Distance Runner Shalane Flanagan Announces Retirement, Plans To Coach

By Todd Kortemeier | Oct. 21, 2019, 12:42 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Mary Keitany (Kenya), Shalane Flanagan and Mamitu Dasku (Ethiopia) during the medal ceremony at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 5, 2017 in New York City.


In announcing her retirement from professional running on Monday, Shalane Flanagan acknowledged all the hardships that being an elite-level distance runner have taken on her mind and body.

But she also acknowledged having just one regret: that she couldn’t do it all over again.

“With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running,” Flanagan wrote in a post on Instagram. “From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride! I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I've experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I've loved (and learned from) it all.”

A silver medalist in 10,000-meter at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, Flanagan retires after a 15-year career that included four Olympic Games and multiple national championships. That medal in 2008 was just the second for an American woman at the Games in that event. She also holds the American indoor record at 3,000 and 5,000 meters.She won the New York City Marathon in 2017 as the first American woman to do so in 40 years.

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Flanagan comes from a legendary running family. Her mother Cheryl formerly held the women’s world record time in marathon while her father Steve was on the U.S. world cross-country team. Flanagan’s running career started in her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts, where she was a three-time All-State runner.

Flanagan stated that she plans to get involved in coaching now that her running career is over and will be working with the Nike Bowerman Track Club.

“I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me,” Flanagan wrote. “I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.”

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Shalane Flanagan