Shalane Flanagan NYC Marathon victory triggers Girl Power movement

Sunday, November 4, 2018
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Amy Freeze has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Shalane Flanagan's victory put female American distance runners in the spotlight like never before.

Flanagan has become a celebrated woman on the run, symbolizing possibilities in the sport of distance running. She's literally ignited a tribe of girl power from her own teammates to competitors to worldwide social media attention.

Olympic runner Jenny Simpson says for the field of competitive American distance runners, Flanagan's victory has brought attention to the sport.

"It's exciting for sport insiders to bring the others into the sport... thank you to Shalane," Simpson said.

Long Island's own Allie Kieffer says the victory increased attention for elite racers like her.

RELATED: 2017 TCS New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan returns to defend her title

"Now everyone is talking about the women's race," Kieffer said, which has not always been the case. The focus has traditionally been about men leading the race.

Young runners from all over the Tri-State did chants like "Girl Power" and "Shalane Rocks" at this year's Run with the Champions for youth running at the finish line area of the TCS NYC Marathon.

Flanagan's celebrity status among young runners gives them a role model and they say her fast running also makes their running fun.

"I think she did really good when she crossed the finish line, it's hard to do cause your'e running really fast! It inspires them (our team) to think about their dreams," a young runner said.

As Team for Kids Ambassador, Flanagan helps girls in the New York Road Runners "Run for the Future," which awards hundreds of high school girls with $2,000 scholarships to finish their first 5K race.

And following her victory in New York, sisterhood transcended sport when Flanagan released books with longtime friend Chef Elyse Copecky about food. The 37-year-old Olympian credits the nutrition plan to extending her career and making it possible for her to defend her 2017 TCS NYC Marathon title.

Hundreds of women lined up at the NYRR New Balance Run Hub in Midtown to get the New York Times Best Seller "Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow." Many of the women wanted to run questions by her and get an autograph or picture with her.

Basically, whatever Flanagan is doing is what they want to be doing. Girls of all ages even posing on social media as her -- the first American to win the New York marathon in 40 years.


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