Instead of being threatened by her teammates’ growing accomplishments, Flanagan embraced them, and brought in more women, elevating them to her level until they become the most formidable group of distance athletes in the nation.
.. This is not all selfless acts of mentorship; the camaraderie Flanagan has fostered with her teammates served her well.
“I thoroughly enjoy working with other women,” Flanagan told me. “I think it makes me a better athlete and person. It allows me to have more passion toward my training and racing. When we achieve great things on our own, it doesn’t feel nearly as special.”
.. Flanagan’s leadership style doesn’t fit the “girl boss” leadership archetypes that are flourishing in pop culture, the Ivanka Trump feminism, with its shallow claims of support for women, that yields no results. (Ms. Trump’s kind of feminism may attract cheers at races, but it does not win them.) Flanagan does not just talk about elevating women; she elevates them. And they win.
.. We usually see competitive women, particularly athletically excellent women, only in one of two ways: either competing to defeat one another, or all about team over self. But that’s a flawed, limiting paradigm. The Shalane Effect dismantles it: She is extraordinarily competitive, but not petty; team-oriented, but not deferential. Elevating other women is actually an act of self-interest: It’s not so lonely at the top if you bring others along.
.. her 6th place finish at the Rio Olympics
She has managed that with a regimen that gives new meaning to cross- training and will be music to the ears of runners who hate the labors of quarter and half-mile speed intervals. She says she hasn’t been on a track in two decades, fearing the turns will wreak havoc with an irritable “lower back and hip thing” that can aggravate the opposite knee and ankle if she compensates by altering her natural stride.
Kathrine Switzer was a few miles into her history-making run at the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, when Jock Semple, the co-director of the famous 26-mile race, suddenly appeared behind her and tried to shove her out of the competition.
Semple’s lunge at Switzer was captured by national news photographers. What happened next changed running forever.
Switzer’s boyfriend, Thomas Miller, threw a block that knocked Semple out of her way, allowing the 20-year-old runner from Syracuse University to finish the race in 4:20:02 at a time when women were thought to be too fragile for long-distance running.
Semple later disqualified Switzer for, among other things, running with the men. She’d registered under the name “K.V. Switzer” not with the intention of becoming a women’s pioneer in the sport but to prove to her coach, Syracuse’s Arnie Briggs, that women could run 26.2 miles.