ยฉ Copyright – 2021 – Athletics Illustrated

Shalane Flanagan is on her way to setting a yet-to-be-identified record.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all six World Marathon Majors which are spread typically from late winter to late fall are bunched together, over a six-week span of time for the 2021 season.

Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Toyko, and New York in that order are scheduled to run from Sept. 17 to Nov. 7, just 43 days between all six events.

Flanagan announced that because she just loves running, she will be racing all six World Marathon Majors. The 40-year-old retired international marathon runner continues to demonstrate great fitness.

She has run four of the six majors, two of them back-to-back on Sunday, Oct. 10 in Chicago, and Monday, Oct. 11 in Boston, her hometown.

The day after running Chicago in the time of 2:46:39, she ran Boston in 2:40:34. Her Berlin time this year was 2:38:32, which was followed up by a 2:35:04 London Marathon. Her average so far is 2:40:13.

As runners are wont to do, she will likely plan to also average sub-2:40:00 for the six. This is attainable.

Her personal best is 2:21:14, which she ran in Berlin in 2014.

The Bejing Olympic silver medallist has been remarkably consistent performance-wise through the distances from 1500m to the marathon. The World Athletics points value system indicates that in three different distances she has run to the exact same points value level:1221.

Over the road 10K distance, she clocked a 30:52 in Boston in 2016. It’s an American record. Two years prior she clocked a 47:00 15K in Jacksonville, FLA. The 15K performance is an ABP or American Best Performance (not a “record” per se). Her Berlin personal best at 2:21:14 is also ranked at exactly 1221.

Her Beijing medal performance is just marginally better at 1227 points. She finished in the time of 30:22.22.

The Olympic marathon standard is 2:29:30. It is possible that if she focussed on the marathon trials, she would have ended up in Sapporo, Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

But she is enjoying herself. Next up is Tokyo on Sunday, Oct. 17, Followed by The New York City Marathon on Nov. 7.

The *Tokyo Marathon is considered a fast course. It is here where she may run an elite time and sub-2:30:00. New York is hillier, offers more turns, and can be a bit of a slower course overall. However, much can be said about the psychological boost during a final marathon in a series like this. Who knows what she can do at this point.

The World Marathon Majors is a popular series and individually are popular destination race events. Each marathon is iconic in its own way. For example, Berlin is generally considered the fastest marathon course. It is typically where the fastest times of the year are run including the men’s world record of 2:01:39 by Eliud Kipchoge and the second-fastest performance all-time which is 2:01:41 by Kenenisa Bekele.

New York is iconic, after all, it is New York; Gotham as it were. A big city, with much on-course cheering and support. Crowds line the streets for the annual event. Boston is much the same, iconic, and the longest-running marathon in the world depuis 1897. The cheering hordes seem limitless. London is the biggest and is the biggest single fundraising event in the world. Both Chicago and London could have something to say about whether Berlin is the fastest or not though.

Paula Radcliffe’s world record was run in London at 2:15:25. Brigid Kosgei bettered the record in Chicago at 2:14:04. Chicago offers pizza and wind tunnels and a dead flat course. London is the city that hosted the first modern 26.2-mile or 42.195-kilometre Olympic Marathon in 1908.

*Tokyo is the new baby on the block, but everyone wants to run it. Like London and New York, Tokyo is just simply a massive city. The race was first established in 2007. Course records are lighting fast with Lonah Salpeter running 2:17:45 and *Wilson Kipsang 2:03:58.

Find out about the Abbott World Marathon Majors here>>

*Tokyo is postponed to 2022. Flanagan will find another marathon in lieu.

*Kipsang lost his World Marathon Majors title. In June 2020, Kipsang was banned for four years for doping offences. This calls into question the value of his 2:03:58 and much of the latter part of his career. He won London twice, Tokyo, New York, and Berlin. His personal best is 2:03:13.




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