After a historic career, professional runner Shalane Flanagan has announced her retirement from the sport and will transition her skills to coaching.
On Monday, the 38-year-old athlete shared the news with a sentimental Instagram post giving thanks to those who helped her throughout her 15-year career and explaining her next move.
“With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running. From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride!” she wrote alongside a photo of herself before she competed in the 2018 New York Marathon, in which she finished third.
“I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I’ve experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I’ve loved (and learned from) it all. Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible. Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year,” she continued.
“No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life,” Flanagan said.
In 2017, Flanagan became the first American woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon. She crossed the finish line in tears, with a very visible “f— yeah!” before running over to hug family and friends after the historic accomplishment.
The athlete posted a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds, beating out Kenyan Mary Keitany — who had won the race the past three years and set a world record in April by about a minute — according to ESPN.
“I felt that magnitude and that importance,” she told PEOPLE after winning the marathon.
Now that the professional runner will no longer be competing, she is turning her attention toward helping others.
“I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it’s more and more about those around me. All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN. So I’m carrying this to coaching,” she explained her post.
“I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be,” the runner shared, adding that she is now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon where she currently lives.
The runner — a four-time Olympic competitor who took home a silver medal in 2008 — continued her post thanking her numerous coaches, teammates as well as her family and friends for their support and encouragement over the years.
“I hope I made myself a better person by running. I hope I made those around me better. I hope I made my competition better,” she said. “I hope I left the sport better because I was a part of it.”
Flanagan added that she will continue to work with two of her coaches, Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert, in her “next chapter” as they will guide her toward her “goal of becoming a world-class coach.”
And while she admitted that her motto throughout her career has always been to make decisions that leave her “with no regrets,” she shared that she does have one regret left.
“I regret I can’t do it all over again,” Flanagan said.
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