Shalane Flanagan to race New York City Marathon as if it’s her last (again)

AP
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As Shalane Flanagan trains to defend her New York City Marathon title on Nov. 4, she repeats a line from a Toby Keith song.

“I’m not as good as I once was, but I was good once as I ever was.”

Flanagan began a media teleconference with Boston Marathon winner Des Linden on Tuesday by saying she definitely notices her age more in marathon build-up. Recovery days are more vital at 37 years old.

That said, Flanagan believes she has become a better marathoner in the last two years. Maybe that’s why she’s not saying whether this will be her last New York City Marathon as an elite racer, as she said of her hometown Boston Marathon in April after a seventh-place finish on Boylston Street.

She has not publicly ruled out trying to become the first U.S. distance runner to compete in five Olympics in 2020.

“The last two years since Rio, I’ve acted as if each marathon is my last,” said Flanagan, echoing her comments before last year in New York. “I haven’t really decided what the next step in my career is. I’m focused on the next 20 days being the best athlete I can be.

“I’m not in the phase of my career where I’m focusing years in advance. Until I cross the finish line on November 4th, I don’t know.”

In 2017, Flanagan became the first U.S. female runner to win New York in 40 years and the second-oldest women’s winner in 30 years. Linden’s triumph in the frigid, windy rain in Boston five months later followed, signaling a full-fledged American marathon movement.

They’re joined in the Nov. 4 field by more potential U.S. breakthroughs — Sally Kipyego and Molly Huddle, who were second and third in the 2016 New York City Marathon, a race that lacked Rio Olympic marathoners like Flanagan and Linden.

Kipyego is running her first major race since switching representation from Kenya to the U.S. and having daughter Emma in July 2017. Huddle, a two-time Olympian on the track, is the American record holder at 10,000m and the half marathon.

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MORE: 2018 Chicago Marathon results

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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