By R.L. Bynum
Monday capped a crazy 16 days of running four marathons for former Carolina runner Shalane Flanagan, with still two marathons and 27 days to go.
The Olympian, three-time national champion at UNC and 2017 New York City Marathon winner finished the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and the Boston Marathon on Monday in her drive to run all six major world marathons in seven weeks.
Four down and two to go.
Flanagan, 40, retired from professional running in October 2019. But Flanagan, a coach for the Bowerton Track Club, has put up times that are still impressive and the envy of any much-less accomplished runner.
Through four marathons, she has easily met her goal of finishing all six under three hours and under a 6-minute, 50-second pace.
It started Sept. 26 when she ran the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 38 minutes, 32 seconds.
On Oct. 3, seven days later, she finished the London Marathon in 2:35:04.
Sunday, she ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:46:39 (finishing first in the 40 to 44 female age group and was the 25th overall female finisher), flew to Massachusetts and finished the Boston Marathon on Monday in 2:40.34, the 33rd female finisher.
She ran faster on a much hillier Boston course than she did on a flat Chicago course, doing negative splits. She reached the half-marathon mark in 1:21:05 and ran the last half in 1:19:29, which is impressive considering the second half is hillier than the first half.
Next weekend, she’ll run the Tokyo Marathon “virtually” from Oregon, where she lives. There is no in-person Tokyo option this year for that race.
The sixth marathon will be the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7.
At Carolina, she won NCAA cross country titles in 2002 (19:36) and 2003 (19:30), becoming the first Tar Heel to win an individual title in the sport. She was named the top college cross country runner in 2003 and 2004. Flanagan won an indoor NCAA title at 3,000 meters in 2003 (9:01.05).
Flanagan won a silver medal at 10,000 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won a world cross country title in 2011.
In addition to winning NYCM in 2017, she was second in New York in 2010 and third in 2018. She was also third in the 2014 Berlin Marathon, where she ran her fastest marathon at 2:21:14.