Flanagan and Goucher have a longstanding rivalry that could see a brand new chapter opened if Flanagan follows Goucher in moving up to the marathon distance. The two women staged two epic battles in the 2008 Olympic Trials, with Flanagan nipping Goucher in a mad sprint to the finish line in the 10,000m and Goucher returning the favor in the 5000m.
Since then Goucher, who is three years Flanagan’s senior, has made a successful shift to the roads, setting an American debut marathon record of 2:25:53 in the 2008 New York City Marathon, where she finished third. Flanagan has said that her half marathon debut will serve partly as a way of testing the waters of the full marathon distance. If she runs well in Houston—and why wouldn’t she?—it will probably be a matter of time before Flanagan takes aim at her nemesis’ debut marathon record, and after that, just maybe, another American record held by Deena Kastor: 2:19:36.