Shalane Flanagan: Role Model for all Collegiettes

She’s fierce, fast, and a die-hard Boston lover. Shalane Flanagan is from Marblehead, a town 45 minutes outside of Boston, and is a top-American runner. She holds American records in the indoor 3k, indoor 5k, 10k and 15k. In addition, she competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and in 2008 won a bronze medal in the 10k.

Last year, one year after the Boston Marathon bombings, Shalane made it clear that she wanted to win Boston. She ran the race at a blistering pace of 5:26 per mile, but it wasn’t enough for her to reach the goal she had set for herself and she placed seventh. This Monday, she’s running the Boston Marathon again and shooting for a top three finish.

Shalane’s speed is not the only thing she has going for her, though. Whether you are a marathoner or have never run a step in your life, Shalane is someone you can learn a lot from. Here are a few reasons why:

1. She’s not afraid to set challenging goals and is eager to share them.


Live a life you are proud of. Dreams give me meaning.

A photo posted by Shalane Flanagan (@shalaneflanagan) on

Sharing your goals and big dreams with others can often be scary because there is no guarantee you are going to reach them and there is a possibility that people will see you fail. Unfortunately, there is no escaping this and, in my opinion, anything challenging and worthwhile is going to feel out of reach. Shalane has inspired me to be honest about my goals and I urge you to do the same!

2. She’s passionate.

Through watching interviews, reading articles and seeing her races I know that Shalane loves running. She says it herself often and in a recent ESPN article explained, “I tend to be very emotional with my training. I'm very into it and very passionate about it." Her love for the sport is a good reminder that you are likely to be more successful and driven if you are doing something you love whether it’s for your career or a hobby.

3. She’s up for a challenge.  

When she finished in 7th place at Boston last year she said, “I don’t wish it were easier, I wish I was better.” This statement reflects her excitement for working hard and improving at what she loves. Whether you are in a tough class, are faced with challenging work projects or need to put more effort into a relationship wishing it was easier is not going to change it. Recognizing that you are in control, believing you can improve is effective, and getting excited to put in the work is effective.

4. She gives back to her community.

Running is not only something that Shalane does for herself. Last year, she wanted to win Boston in order to show her love for Boston. Her love can be seen in this emotional video of her at the finish line last year.

Not only does she race to support her city, but she recently supported her hometown by helping with a 5k and fundraising campaign to build a new track at her former high school. This winter she she also joined the November Project, a free early morning exercise group, in Boston as they ran hill repeats at 6am one snowy morning.  


Take time to live life. It will inspire your work. #community

A photo posted by Shalane Flanagan (@shalaneflanagan) on

No matter the results of the race on Monday, the determination and passion she brings to everything she does is recognized and appreciated. I am grateful for how open Shalane is about her journey because it has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and be relentless as I work towards my own goals. Hopefully Shalene can inspire you too!

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