American marathoner Shalane Flanagan is relishing the 2012 Olympic spotlight—the one that’s on everyone else, sometimes by virtue of their own statements.
“I just read something, I believe Edna Kiplagat, saying she can run 2:17 on the course,” Flanagan told Runner’s World today in a Brief Chat. “I kind of laughed; does she actually see the course? I expect [Kenyans Kiplagat and Mary Keitany] to almost feel like it's their race to lose and that they are just going to press it and make it their own. I believe that they think that they deserve gold and silver right there.”
In the same interview this week with Xinhua, the Chinese news service, Keitany was quoted as saying: “Most of the competition will be between Kenyans but I think Ethiopians and Russians will give a good account of themselves.”
If this is a rivalry, it bears a New York City birth certificate: Kiplagat, Flanagan, and Keitany finished 1-2-3- in the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, the debut at the distance for both Flanagan and Keitany.
Flanagan, 30, won the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in January in a time of 2:25:38, a personal best and an Olympic Trials record by almost three minutes. It was only the second career marathon for Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000 meters.
In the Brief Chat, Flanagan said that when she read the Kenyans’ comments, she asked training partner Kara Goucher, who also made the team in January, “What are we, chopped liver?”
She then added that it’s all fine with her: If others think they’re the favorites and run like the favorites, it will be good for the Americans.
Read the interview here.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg