The NYC Marathon 2017 was a historic event, especially for US women runners. Shalane Flanagan breaks a 40 year drought of US women winners in the NYC Marathon. That’s the top story to be remembered and very well deserved. Hats off to Shalane Flanagan for a job well done and for showing us that perseverance does pay.
Although, as I was watching the race unfold, I had no idea who would win because there were several strong competitors in the lead pack. Somewhere around the point when the leading pack started breaking up and the top 3 finishers were pulling away, one of the commentators mentioned how well Shalane was doing given she had to take time off from running to allow a fracture in her lower spine to heal. I immediately thought of the process, the exercises and steps she went through to get back to be race ready. I was then captivated by her running form. It was phenomenal. She was rock solid through the end of the race. I was further taken by her ability and thinking about her efficiency and core strength when she started breaking away from the other two runners at mile 23. As Shalane created distance between her and her two competitors (Mary Keitany-2nd place, Mamitu Daska -3rd place), my focus was pulled towards the running form of these women as a comparison, particularly Mamitu Daska. Her form was breaking down big time. Her arms were moving all over the place, her trunk was swaying and her head was bobbing around as the other two runners pulled away to finish 1st and 2nd.
So my memories of the 2017 NYC women’s marathon will be more than just the year an American won after forty years but also a great example of what proper rehab and training can achieve. There is a lot of extra work needed to stabilize the spine and strengthen the core after a vertebral fracture just for normal recreational activities. It is monumental to be able to finish first in a major marathon event. Not only finishing first, but doing it with great style, focus and authority.
Yes, Shalane Flanagan will be motivation for women runners for years to come but her story should also inspire anyone who has a setback that derails their goals. We should all look to her willpower, patience and perseverance for these are strong qualities, even stronger than her back for that matter.
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