Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
The most anticipated U.S. marathon in recent history has put more attention on one elite runner than any other.
That would be the woman with the 16th fastest personal best in the elite field of 21. Shalane Flanagan‘s story must be about more than hours, minutes and seconds, and it is, just as is this year’s Boston Marathon.
She was born in Boulder, Colo., but grew up in Marblehead, Mass., 16 miles northeast of Boston. Her personal connection to this race is well documented.
“I’ve never felt my running take on a more personal meaning than it will to prepare for this year’s race,” Flanagan said. “It’s hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete. In one word, I guess it would be ‘pride.’”
Flanagan is one of the U.S.’ greatest all-time distance runners. She is the only American woman to win an Olympic medal on the track in a distance greater than 400m since 1992 (10,000m bronze in Beijing 2008).
Only 1984 Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson and 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor are higher than Flanagan among Americans on the IAAF’s all-time list (which doesn’t count Boston times due to its point-to-point, downhill course).
Flanagan finished fourth in her Boston Marathon debut last year. Come Monday, she is not favored to be the first American victor since 1985, but her objective is clear.
“It’s my ultimate dream and goal to win the Boston Marathon,” Flanagan said on “60 Minutes.” “I am all in.”
The field includes three women who have Boston Marathon titles — Kenyans Rita Jeptoo (2006, 2013), Sharon Cherop (2012) and Caroline Kilel (2011).
Jeptoo, 33, has a fantastic chance to win her third title. She went seven years between major marathon victories from 2006 to 2013 but claimed not only Boston but also Chicago (in a personal best time) last year. She was the fastest women’s marathoner in 2013.
She could be challenged hardest by top Ethiopian hope Mare Dibaba, whose only World Marathon Major experience was taking 23rd at the 2012 Olympics. But Dibaba, 24, has the fastest personal best in the field, 5 seconds better than Jeptoo. She was 8 seconds slower than Jeptoo at a half marathon on Valentine’s Day.
Several more Kenyans are in the hunt. Also, don’t forget about Desiree Linden, who set the American course record for Boston in 2011, when she finished two seconds behind the winner.
Full women’s elite field:
|Name||Personal Best Time||Country|
|Mare Dibaba||2:19:52 (Dubai, 2012)||Ethiopia|
|Rita Jeptoo||2:19:57 (Chicago, 2013)||Kenya|
|Jemima Jelagat Sumgong||2:20:48 (Chicago, 2013)||Kenya|
|Meselech Melkamu||2:21:01 (Frankfurt) CR||Kenya|
|Eunice Kirwa||2:21:41 (Amsterdam, 2012)||Kenya|
|Sharon Cherop||2:22:28 (Berlin, 2013)||Kenya|
|Caroline Kilel||2:22:34 (Frankfurt, 2013)||Kenya|
|Desiree Linden||2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)||U.S.|
|Flomena Chepchichir||2:23:00 (Frankfurt, 2013)||Kenya|
|Buzunesh Deba||2:23:19 (New York, 2011)||Ethiopia|
|Tatiana Petrova Arkhipova||2:23:29 (London, 2012)||Russia|
|Aleksandra Duliba||2:23:44 (Chicago, 2013)||Belarus|
|Yeshi Esayias||2:24:06 (Frankfurt, 2013)||Ethiopia|
|Philes Ongori||2:24:20 (Rotterdam, 2011)||Kenya|
|Belaynesh Oljira||2:25:01 (Dubai, 2013)||Ethiopia|
|Shalane Flanagan||2:25:38 (Houston, 2012)||U.S.|
|Lanni Marchant||2:28:00 (Toronto, 2013)||Canada|
|Serena Burla||2:28:01 (Amsterdam, 2013)||U.S.|
|Noriko Higuchi||2:28:49 (Tokyo, 2011)||Japan|
|Adriana Nelson||2:28:52 (London, 2008)||U.S.|
|Adriana Aparecida da Silva||2:29:17 (Tokyo, 2012)||Brazil|
Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
This year’s winners came from unprecedented nations and events.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EST
Wagner could match a Michelle Kwan feat at the French event.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
“Unbroken” film about Olympian and World War II hero comes out on Christmas.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EST
Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EST
Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:03 PM EST
Vito thought he had what it took to make the Olympic team, but judges didn’t see it the same way.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Olympic champion could face the only woman who beat her in the quarterfinals.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:25 PM EST
“I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”
Nov 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EST
Her name could be “erased from the list of participants,” IOC president said.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM EST
Eight stadium events will have morning finals, a first for Olympic track and field since 1988.
Nov 18, 2014, 4:11 PM EST
The IOC will vote on 40 proposed changes to the Olympics in December.
Nov 18, 2014, 4:01 PM EST
Also, Natalie Coughlin said she reached out to Phelps.
Nov 18, 2014, 3:52 PM EST
Four years ago, Michael Phelps’ coach said Lochte was the world’s best swimmer.
Nov 18, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
U.S. has never hosted the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
Olympic silver medalist’s partner in London was April Ross, who is now with Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:18 PM EST
Both could make history at Rio Olympics.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:42 PM EST
Miller hopes to return one week before the one storied race he has never won.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Swede being inducted into Hall of Fame authored one of the iconic Olympic moments in 1994.
Nov 16, 2014, 8:57 AM EST
Sister of New York Jets center was competing in her first World Championships.
Nov 16, 2014, 8:33 AM EST
Ted Ligety well back in first slalom of season.
- Angelina Jolie showed Louis Zamperini scenes of ‘Unbroken’ on hospital bed 0
- Joss Christensen becomes ‘mountain man’ since Sochi Olympics 0
- IOC proposes adding Olympic events, bid reforms 0
- Ryan Lochte: I have no doubt Michael Phelps will come back 1
- Doha gets 2019 World Track and Field Championships over Eugene, Barcelona 2
- Bode Miller out until January due to back surgery 0
- Peter Forsberg and the Olympics 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)