On Monday, Flanagan will race in her first Boston Marathon, not only as a hometown heroine, but also as the American female favorite.
For Flanagan, who now lives in Oregon, her fourth career marathon will also be her Boston debut. She was 10th in the Olympic marathon in London last summer, and won the US Olympic marathon trials early in 2012.
But Boston is extra-special.
"I used to dream of this moment, what it would look like to be an elite athlete," Flanagan said during the elite runners press conference Friday at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. "I was a spectator and a fan and to actually be part of the race, and actually be considered an elite athlete at this race completely blows my mind and it's really surreal."
Even though Flanagan has yet to run the Boston Marathon, she'll consider this a hometown run.
"This is my city, in a way," Flanagan said. "I look at it almost as my home course even though I haven't run the [Boston] Marathon yet, I just feel like it's nice having the expectation for us to perform well, and to represent our country well, just added incentive to pull the most out of ourselves."
Flanagan spoke about how she'll handle the fans on the course, most of whom will be cheering her on throughout the race.
"If it gets me too excited or too emotional, that's bad," Flanagan said. "But at the end of the race is where I think it's going to be crucial, when I'm tired, knowing that people care about my performance and are invested in how I do, that elevates my level of expectations and my level of commitment to suffer for a little bit more."
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes