Monday, April 28, 2014

The Michelangelo Smile

Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.
- Michelangelo

One week ago Shalane Flanagan did not win the 2014 Boston Marathon.   It was certainly not for lack of effort.  Flanagan - who is an extraordinary talent - was ahead through seventeen miles.  She finished in 2:22.02, which was her fastest-ever finishing time in a marathon (by roughly three minutes).  It was a time that she and her coach had anticipated would be the time needed to win the Marathon.  It was the fastest time an American woman has ever run at Boston.  

Flanagan finished in seventh place.  Her best-time ever was roughly three and one half minutes off of the winning time of Rita Jeptoo.  Jeptoo's winning time of 2:18.57 was the fastest winning time ever for a woman at Boston.  Jeptoo, in fact, took close to two minutes off of the course record. 

Shalane Flanagan was as gracious post-race as she always is.  Clearly she was disappointed that in spite of her best efforts she did not accomplish what she had hoped to accomplish, which was winning her hometown event for her hometown and for the people of Boston. 

However, even though she did not finish atop the podium it is hard to argue that she did not in fact do what it was she had set out to do.  The enthusiasm throughout Boston - and really all over the country - last Monday was palpable.  It is true that she did not win the race.  However she did not "fail".  She simply did not finish in first place.

Perhaps victory will come for her next year.  She will most assuredly be back on the starting line in Hopkinton in 2015.  “I can say right now, I’ll be back here until I win it,” Flanagan said. “I’ll be back to challenge Jeptoo.”

And somewhere Michelangelo just smiled...


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