Mass. Olympian Shalane Flanagan Retires From Running

The Marblehead runner thanked coaches, friends and family after a 15-year career

Four-time Olympian and noted U.S. marathon champion Shalane Flanagan is retiring from competitive running after a 15-year career, the Massachusetts native announced Monday morning on social media.

In two posts on Instagram, Flanagan explained she will be transition to a role as professional coach for the Nike Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon.

"I have felt my North Star shifting," she wrote. "My passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it's more and more about those around me."

Flanagan, who is from Marblehead, Mass., went to the Olympics four times, winning a bronze medal at the Beijing games in 2008, according to her Team USA bio. The 38-year-old also won the 2017 New York City Marathon, becoming the first U.S woman to win the race in 40 years when she crossed the finish line in 2:26:53.

"I'm not a real emotional guy and my eyes were leaking," her father, Steven Flanagan, told NBC10 Boston at the time.

View this post on Instagram

With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running. From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride! I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I've experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I've loved (and learned from) it all. Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible. Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year. No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life. I’ve loved having an intense sense of purpose. For 15 years I've woken up every day knowing I was exactly where I needed to be. The feeling of pressing the threshold of my mental and physical limits has been bliss. I've gone to bed with a giant tired smile on my face and woken up with the same smile. My obsession to put one foot in front of the other, as quickly as I can, has given me so much joy. However, I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it's more and more about those around me. All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN. So I’m carrying this to coaching. I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be. I am privileged to announce I am now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club. This amazing opportunity in front of me, to give back to the sport, that gave me so much, is not lost on me. I’ve pinched myself numerous times to make sure this is real. I am well aware that retirement for professional athletes can be an extremely hard transition. I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me. I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.(1/2)

A post shared by Shalane Flanagan (@shalaneflanagan) on

In her Instagram posts announcing the retirement, Flanagan thanked the five coaches who guided her through her career and her family and friends for supporting her.

"My personal motto … has been to make decisions that leave me with 'no regrets' … but to be honest I have one. I regret I can’t do it all over again," Flanagan said at the end of her message.

Steven Flanagan, father of New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan, speaks of the champion’s roots in her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts.
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