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Who Is Shalane Flanagan, the Woman Who Plans to Run 6 Marathons in 42 Days?

Published 09/21/2021, 6:00 AM EDT

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In 2019, American long-distance runner Shalane Flanagan announced her retirement 15 years after turning pro. Fast forward to 2021, and the 40-year-old announced she will return to running this year.

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While her return drew reactions from many of her fans, it’s the manner of the return which is impressive as well. The Colorado-born runner will compete in six marathons over the course of six weeks starting this Sunday, September 26.

Shalane Flanagan enjoyed immense success in long-distance running


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Flanagan made an impressive start to her professional career, tasting success in the USA Cross Country Championships in 2004 and 2005. In 2008, the American clinched a silver medal in the women’s 10,000m race at the Beijing Olympics. Although she made four appearances in the Olympics, this would be the only Olympic medal in her career.

In 2017, Flanagan made history by becoming the first American woman since Miki Gorman to win the New York City Marathon. Her victory came 40 years after Gorman, who achieved the feat in 1977. In 2019, the 40-year-old announced her retirement from the sport.


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Almost two years since retiring from running, Flanagan took to social media to announce her return to running this year. This will entail her running six marathons in the space of just 42 days.

In her post, Flanagan wrote a letter addressed to running, which mentions her reason behind returning to running. An excerpt from her post read“Our relationship used to be about going fast and breaking a tape. Now, it’s about so much more than that. It’s about my son, my family, my mental health, my emotional sanity, my confidence. It’s about feeling free, pushing myself and chasing what else is out there.

“So, over the next few weeks, you and I are going to go on a new adventure. We are going to run 6 marathons in 42 days. Why? Because we can.”

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Which are the six events Flanagan will take part in?


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According to SELF Magazine, her return begins on September 26 with the Berlin Marathon. Following this run, she heads to the United Kingdom to compete in the London Marathon on October 3.

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She will then return to the United States to make her debut in the Chicago Marathon on October 10. However, she will need to readjust her focus almost instantly, as the Boston Marathon take place the very next day.


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Flanagan will then move to Oregon to complete a marathon distance before returning to the New York City Marathon on November 7. Along with her participation, the 40-year-old aims to complete all of them in under 3 hours each.

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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.