Shalane Flanagan Athlete Profile

Shalane Flanagan

Shalane Flanagan (born July 8, 1981) is an American long-distance runner. She holds the American record times in the 3000 m (indoor), 5000 m (indoor) and 15K road race. She won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in the 10,000 m (since upgraded to silver), a bronze at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and was second in the 2010 New York City Marathon.

Personal life

Flanagan grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She attended Marblehead High School, where she excelled in cross country and track. She also participated in soccer and swimming, and was an artist and painter in the art major program.

Flanagan is married to Steven Ashley Edwards, a former track and field star at the University of North Carolina.

Flanagan’s parents are both accomplished runners. Her mother, Cheryl Treworgy, is a former marathon world record holder (as Cheryl Bridges – 1971) and a five-time U.S. World Cross Country Championship participant. Her father, Steve Flanagan, was also a U.S. World Cross Country Champion participant and marathon runner. (PR 2:18). He raised Shalane and her sister Maggie in Marblehead with his second wife Monica.

In the fall of 2009, Flanagan volunteered as an assistant coach for the cross country team at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina. In the fall of 2013, Flanagan volunteered as an assistant coach for the women cross country team at Portland State University.

Track and field career

High School

As a student at Marblehead High School in Massachusetts, Flanagan’s accomplishments included three-time All-State cross country performances, a first-place All-State finish in the mile and a two-mile win whose record still stands; her 4:46 mile won the National Scholastic Indoor Championships.


Flanagan attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she won national cross country titles in 2002 and 2003 — becoming the first individual champion in the sport in Tar Heel history — and numerous track accolades, with best times of 4:11.24 in 1500 m (7th in the U.S. at any level in 2003), 9:00.22 in the 3000 m and 15:20.54 in the 5000 m.

Early professional career

Since advancing to the professional level in 2004, Flanagan has lowered her 3000 meter time to 8:33.25 and her 5000 meter time to 14:44.80, the latter an American record; her 1500 m record has slightly improved to 4:05.86. She is a two-time national champion in the women’s 5000 meters. She won the short course competition at the USA Cross Country Championships in 2004 and 2005.


Flanagan became the long course national cross country champion for the first time in February of 2008. She ran the 10,000 for the first time at the 2008 Stanford Payton Jordan invite meeting, in a time of 30:34.49 to beat Deena Kastor’s American record of 30:50.32. Flanagan credited her American record to the help of New Zealand’s Kim Smith. Flanagan and Smith traded the lead position during the race, and Smith finished in 30:35.54.

At the Summer Olympic Trials held in Eugene, Flanagan competed in both the 5000 and 10,000 m. She won the 10,000 m final in a time of 31:34.81. This guaranteed her a spot on Team USA for Beijing. Flanagan also finished third in the 5000 m final with a time of 15:02.81. On August 16, Flanagan finished third in the Olympic 10,000 m finals in Beijing, capturing the bronze medal. However, in April 2017, Flanagan was upgraded to the silver medal after Elvan Abeylegesse had her medal stripped as a result of a doping violation. Flanagan also set a then American record in 30:22.22, shattering her own record set earlier in the year. She is only the second American woman to receive an Olympic medal in the 10,000 m.


Flanagan (right) competing in the 2009 Boston Games

In 2009, Flanagan split with coach John Cook and moved to Portland, Oregon, to begin working with new coach Jerry Schumacher. She finished second to Amy Yoder Begley in the 10,000 m at the 2009 USA Track & Field Championships. At the World Championships in Berlin, Flanagan finished in 14th place in the 10,000 m with a time of 31:32.19.


Flanagan won her first half marathon in Houston at the USA Half Marathon Championships on January 17. She set the course record in a time of 1:09:45. She added a second national championship with a victory at the USA Cross Country Championships. At the World Cross Country Championships, Flanagan finished the individual race in 12th place with a time of 25:20. She was a member of the Team USA squad that earned a bronze medal.

In June 2010, it was announced that Flanagan would make her marathon debut in the New York event in November 2010. Her preparations boded well for the event as her mark of 1:08:36 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon was just two seconds off Deena Kastor’s American record at the event. Flanagan’s time in Philadelphia brought her fourth place some 45 seconds behind winner Meseret Defar. In her marathon debut, Flanagan finished in second place in a time of 2:28:40. It was the best finish for an American woman in twenty years at the New York City Marathon. Flanagan captured the U.S. Marathon championship in the race. She took her fifth title at the National Cross Country Championships and asserted herself as the clear number one in the discipline, winning by a margin of 41 seconds.


At the World Cross Country Championships on March 20, 2011, Flanagan improved on her 12th place from the year before to place third, with a time of 25:10. She led the Team USA squad to a bronze medal. Flanagan was the first non-African born medalist in the event since 2004. She competed in the June 2011 USA Championships in the 10,000 m and won with a time of 30:59.57, qualifying her for the 10,000 m at the World Championships. On August 27, 2011, Flanagan finished seventh at the World Championships 10,000 m with a time of 31:25.57 minutes (the first non-East African born athlete to finish). Flanagan said in June 2011 that she was leaning towards running the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics. With this in mind, she ran at the first Miami Half Marathon in December and won in a Florida state record time of 1:09:58 hours.


Flanagan running in the 2013 Boston Marathon, finishing in 2:27:08

On January 14, 2012, Flanagan won the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, setting the event record at 2:25:38. She moved on to represent Team USA at the Olympic women’s marathon in London, finishing 10th with a time of 2:25:51. She defeated a high class field at the Lisbon Half Marathon in March, recording a time of 1:08:52. She came in 25th at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.


On February 2, 2013, in St. Louis, she won the 8k national cross country title in 25:49.0, just ahead of Kim Conley and Deena Kastor. Then on February 24, 2013, Flanagan set a half marathon best of 1:08:31 as runner-up to Meseret Defar at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans.

Flanagan qualified for the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with the top American time of the year at the 2013 Stanford University Invitational 10 km, where she ran 31:04 without competition for the 2nd half of the race. In June 2013, Flanagan won the 10,000 meters to claim her fourth USA outdoor track title. On August 11, 2013, Flanagan finished 8th at the IAAF world championship.


On March 15, 2014, in Jacksonville, Florida, Flanagan won the USA 15K Championships (Gate River Run), setting a new women’s American Record of 47:00 to take down Deena Kastor’s previous record of 47:15 that was set in 2003. On April 21, 2014, Flanagan led the 2014 Boston Marathon female competitors through 19 miles, ultimately finishing seventh in a personal record 2:22:02, making her the third fastest female American marathoner ever, after Kastor and 1984 Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson. On September 28, 2014, Flanagan placed third in the Berlin Marathon, with a personal best of 2:21:14. It was the second fastest time ever by an American woman at the time, 7 seconds ahead of Joan Benoit’s 1985 Chicago Marathon in 2:21:21 and 98 seconds behind Deena Kastor’s 2006 London Marathon in 2:19:36. Her Berlin run now ranks third on the US all-time list after Jordan Hasay’s 2:20:57 at the 2017 Chicago Marathon.


Flanagan ran a time qualifier for the 2015 World Championships in Athletics and USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with the top American time of the year at the 2015 StanfordInvitational 10 km, where she ran 31:08,[37] pacing race winner Gelete Burka[38] in her 10 km debut. On April 20, 2015, Flanagan placed ninth in the Boston Marathon, with a season best of 2:27:47.[39]

Flanagan finished 2nd to Molly Huddle in the 10,000 meters in 31:42.29[40][41] at the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 25. On August 24, Flanagan placed 6th in 31:46.23 in China in the 10,000 meters.[42] On September 6, Flanagan set the American record and placed 2nd in the road Rabobank Tilburg Ladies Run 10 km in Netherlands in 31:03,[43] one place ahead of Betsy Saina. Flanagan beat the national records of Lynn Jennings and Molly Huddle.[44]


Shalane Flanagan

Shalane Flanagan, 2016

On February 13, 2016, Flanagan placed third, behind Amy Hastings (Cragg) and Desiree Linden, at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing in 2:29:19 on a warm day in Los Angeles.[45] On June 5, 2016, Flanagan placed first, setting a new PR in the half marathon, at the Suja Rock’n’Roll San Diego Marathon and half Marathon, with a time of 1:07:51.[46] Molly Huddle ran a 1:07:41 in New York City in March, while the American record is 1:07:34, held by Deena Kastor in Berlin in 2006.

On June 26, 2016, Flanagan set an American record and won the road Boston Athletic Association 10K in Boston in 30:52. She lowered her national record by 11 seconds and beat the previous B.A.A. 10K event record by 12 seconds (31:04, held by Mamitu Daska since 2014).[47] On August 14, 2016, Flanagan placed 6th at the 2016 Summer Olympics women’s marathon in 2:25:26.


In February 2017, Flanagan announced that she had suffered a fracture in her lower back and would be withdrawing from the Boston Marathon.[48] In March 2017, her 2008 10,000 meters Olympic bronze medal was upgraded to silver due to a positive result for banned substances in a retroactive test of silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse.[1]

Personal bests

Distance Performance Location Date
1500 m 4:05.86 Eugene, Oregon June 10, 2007
3000 m 8:33.25 Boston, Massachusetts January 27, 2007
5000 m 14:44.80* Walnut, California April 13, 2007
10,000 m 30:22.22* Beijing, China August 15, 2008
15,000 m 47:00 NR Jacksonville, Florida March 15, 2014[31]
Half marathon 1:07:51 San Diego, California June 5, 2016
Marathon 2:21:14 Berlin, Germany September 28, 2014[49]
  • Molly Huddle broke Shalane’s 5,000 record time at the 2010 Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels, Belgium 14:44.76.
  • Molly Huddle broke Shalane’s 10,000 record time at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio on August 12, 2016, in 30:13.17.

Competition record

USA National Championships


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2007 USA 5 km Championships Providence, Rhode Island 1st 5 km 15:25
2008 USA 5 km Championships Providence, Rhode Island 1st 5 km 15:29
2010 USA Half Marathon Championships Houston, Texas 1st Half marathon 1:09:41
USA Marathon Championships New York City, New York 1st Marathon 2:28:40
2012 US Olympic Trials Houston, Texas 1st Marathon 2:25:38
2014 USA 15 km Championships Jacksonville, Florida 1st 15 km 47:00
2016 US Olympic Trials Los Angeles, California 3rd Marathon 2:29:19[50]

Track and field

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2003 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Palo Alto, California 2nd 5000 m 15:20.54
2004 US Olympic Trials Sacramento, California 3rd 5000 m 15:10.52
2005 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Carson, California 1st 5000 m 15:10.96
2007 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships Boston, Massachusetts 1st 3000 m 8:56.74
USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Indianapolis, Indiana 1st 5000 m 14:51.75
2008 US Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 3rd 5000 m 15:02.81
1st 10,000 m 31:34.81
2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 2nd 10,000 m 31:23.43
2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 10,000 m 30:59.97
2012 US Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 3rd 10,000 m 31:59.69
2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Des Moines, Iowa 1st 10,000 m 31:43.20
2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 5th 5000 m 15:10.02[51]
USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 2nd 10,000 m 31:42.29[51]

Cross country

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2004 USA Cross Country Championships Indianapolis, Indiana 1st Short course 4 km 12:26
2005 USA Cross Country Championships Vancouver, Washington 1st Short course 4 km 13:24.3
2007 USA Cross Country Championships Boulder, Colorado 2nd Senior race 27:48
2008 USA Cross Country Championships San Diego, California 1st Senior race 25:25
2010 USA Cross Country Championships Spokane, Washington 1st Senior race 25:09.5
2011 USA Cross Country Championships San Diego, California 1st Senior race 25:47
2013 USA Cross Country Championships St. Louis, Missouri 1st Senior race 25:49.0

NCAA championships

Track and field

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing North Carolina Tar Heels
2001 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Fayetteville, Arkansas 7th 1 mile 4:45.25[52]
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 10th 1500 m 4:25.67[53]
2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Fayetteville, Arkansas 3rd 1 mile 4:39.11[54]
6th 3000 m 9:16.30
2003 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Fayetteville, Arkansas 1st 3000 m 9:01.05[55]
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Sacramento, California 2nd 5000 m 15:30.60

Cross country

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing North Carolina Tar Heels
2000 NCAA Cross Country Championships Ames, Iowa 4th 20:42.7
2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships Greenville, South Carolina 22nd 21:10
2002 NCAA Cross Country Championships Terre Haute, Indiana 1st 19:36.0
2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships Cedar Falls, Iowa 1st 19:30.4 (Home)