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Shalane Flanagan completes her sixth marathon in 42 days, finishing New York City Marathon: "The city made me fly"

60 Minutes Archive: Hometown Favorite
60 Minutes Archive: Hometown Favorite 13:00

Long distance runner Shalane Flanagan completed six marathons over the span of six weeks, finishing the New York City Marathon on Sunday. 

Over the span of 42 days, Flanagan set out to complete the world's marathon majors — the Tokyo Marathon, Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Boston Marathon, and the New York City Marathon. In a post on Instagram, she gave special recognition to the Big Apple. 

"From the moment Frank Sinatra wished me well over the Verrazano, I was completely encapsulated by the energy and passion of the city and the fans. For 26.2 miles, every hair on my arms stood up... My legs may have kept me moving forward, but the city made me fly," she wrote following the race.

The four-time Olympian retired from the sport two years ago and rehabbed from double knee surgeries in 2020. Due to the pandemic, organizers were prompted to move the Boston, London and Tokyo Marathons from fall to spring. In September, the 40-year-old announced plans to do all six races under three hours, a journey she called "Project Eclipse" because of the rarity of the opportunity.  She did five of the six races in person, with the exception being the Tokyo Marathon which she completed on her own in the U.S. since it was postponed until March 2022. 

2021 TCS New York City Marathon
Shalane Flanagan of the United States reacts after she crossed the finish line during the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon in Central Park on November 07, 2021 in New York City. / Getty Images

Flanagan, who won the New York City Marathon in 2017 to become the first American woman to win the event in 40 years, finished it in 2 hours, 33 minutes and 32 seconds — her best time out of the six this year. 

"For the past seven weeks, I have fallen back in love with running, with racing, and with the marathon…but nothing could have prepared me for what I felt today," she said on Instagram. "It was my fastest. It was my funnest. It was my favorite. Which is exactly what I wanted. Delivering on all of your goals in a marathon is never guaranteed…but today, I made myself proud."

The 50th New York City Marathon marked a highly anticipated return of the marquee event, as supporters throughout the city clapped and hollered for the runners. Kenyans Albert Korir and Peres Jepchirchir won the race for the men's and women's category, respectively. 

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