The 33-year-old has her eyes on Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36 mark.
Shalane Flanagan is aiming to become the fastest American female marathoner in history this fall, with a goal of breaking the 2:20 barrier and eclipsing Deena Kastor’s 8-year-old American record of 2:19:36 at the Berlin Marathon on September 28. After clocking a 2:22:02 personal best in Boston last April, Flanagan owns the third-fastest marathon time ever run by an American woman.
“I think that if [Boston] had been a fast course like Berlin or Chicago, then I would have continued on that [AR] pace,” Flanagan told Competitor.com earlier this month. “That being said, I think it’s an attainable goal.”
Flanagan and Kastor both ran on the American team at the BOLDERBoulder 10K last May, finishing second and fourth, respectively, with less than a minute between them. Although she has not directly consulted Kastor regarding her standing AR, Flanagan’s times on the road aren’t too far off from what the now 41-year-old ran in her prime.
“I’ve run similar times on the road, like my 15K is equivalent to Deena’s effort,” Flanagan explained.
In Berlin, Flanagan will face world half-marathon champ and reigning 10,000m world silver medalist Gladys Cherono of Kenya, who will be making her 26.2-mile debut. Tirfi Tsegaye of Ethiopia, who finished second last year with a 2:21:19 PR, will return this year, and Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi, who took bronze in the marathon at the 2013 world championships, will be running to break her own PR of 2:24:38.
The 33-year-old marathoner, who opted out of the 10,000m at the U.S. Track & Field Championships last month to focus on her marathon training, has been training in Park City, Utah to prepare for her sub-2:20 quest at Berlin. Flanagan won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 20, running 1:09:45.