She #MovedMe: American Wonder Women Making Waves

 
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The American women’s field at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon is unprecedented. Defending champion Shalane Flanagan is back, and she’ll be challenged by 2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden, three-time United Airlines NYC Half winner Molly Huddle, and a host of others. Highlighting the American women’s wheelchair field is five-time champion Tatyana McFadden, looking for a record-setting sixth title.

“In the open division, the best group of American women marathoners will be assembled since the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, and the competition will be fierce,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “In the wheelchair division, with Tatyana chasing after history, this year’s race is bound to have a storybook ending.”

Inspiring Other Women

Despite the intensity, a spirit of camaraderie will prevail on race day. That spirit was on display in Boston when Linden, who was feeling sluggish early on, offered to shield Flanagan from the wind. Linden even slowed to wait while Flanagan made a pitstop, then ran with her to catch the lead pack.

Linden’s and Flanagan’s breakthrough victories have inspired other American women. “I’m really excited to line up with such a great group of American women in New York this year,” said Huddle. “I’m so inspired by what Shalane and Des have accomplished in the past 12 months and I’m eager to add my name to that list.”

Flanagan’s performance at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon made her the first American women’s open winner in 40 years. Three other Americans—Allie Kieffer (fifth), Kellyn Taylor (eighth), and Stephanie Bruce (10th)—placed in the top 10. Kieffer and Bruce are returning this year, along with Sarah Sellers (the runner-up to Linden in Boston) and Olympic and world championships medalist Sally Kipyego.

 
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The History Makers

Linden’s Boston victory was also historic as she became the first American women’s open champion since 1985. A total of seven American women finished in the top 10. The future looks bright, as American women continue to improve individually and as a group. Kieffer’s time of 2:29:39 last year in New York was a personal best by 15 minutes and Sellers set a personal best in Boston despite horrendous conditions.

Flanagan attributes American women’s success to training in a supportive group environment. She trains with the Bowerman Track Club, one of several elite groups attracting growing numbers of American women. Eleven women in the group have made an Olympic team, and Flanagan says that their collective talent and commitment keep her in the game.

“Whether I have a good day or bad day, one of us is always going to have a good day,” she said. “I feel like I always feel good about running.”