Shalane Flanagan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Shalane Flanagan, Boston Marathon

Shalane Flanagan of Marblehead, Massachusetts leading the women’s field at the Boston Marathon. (Getty)

Shalane Flanagan, a Marblehead, Massachusetts native, got off to a fast start the Boston Marathon, leading the women’s field through 16 miles before falling off the pace near Heartbreak Hill.

Here’s what you need to know about the local favorite:

1. It’s Only Her Second Marathon

Flanagan had never run the marathon until last year. She finished fourth in her debut, making her one of the favorites to win this year’s race.

2. She’s Running in Honor of the Victims

Just about everyone in this year’s field is running in honor of last year’s bombing victims. But the race is especially sentimental for Flanagan given her local roots.

Here’s how Flanagan described her thoughts on the race to the Associated Press:

‘‘It basically would be the highlight of my career, for sure. If I could win this specific Boston: It has the most power, the most meaning behind it, of all the Boston Marathons that would be run.’’

3.She’s Been Tweeting About her Preparation

Flanagan has tweeted about everything from her workout regiment to her emotional preparation. Sunday, she tweeted this Easter breakfast from Dunkin Donuts’, but noted she’d be leaving the doughnuts alone.

4.An American Woman Hasn’t Won the Marathon in 29 Years

The last time an American woman won the marathon was 1985, when Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach took home the top prize. An American man hasn’t won the race since Greg Meyer in 1983.

5. She’s a 3-Time Olympian

Flanagan has been on the U.S. Olympic team in 2004, 2008 and 2012. She won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Games in Beijing.