Shalane Flanagan has become the first American woman in 40 years to win the New York Marathon!

Flanagan is a familiar face to followers of US athletics but at 36 years old her career is edging towards its conclusion.

"How my career ends is super important to me,'' she told ESPN in April.

"It doesn't mean I'm going to win a major, but at least I'm going to try to win a major marathon in the U.S., and I need at least two more events.”

Now, seven years after she first ran the New York Marathon, she finds herself the race’s winner and a history maker to boot.

Not even a week after New York was hit by a terrorist attack, Flanagan in part felt a sense that America deserved a win after another day of tragedy.

“In 2014 Meb Keflezighi won the Boston marathon for our nation and to heal our nation and I felt like when I saw when I saw the events unfold this past week, I thought this is the moment that Americans need, something to feel good about,” she confided to Good Morning America.

With that on her mind as she pounded her way across the grey roads and pavements of Manhattan, “That’s for Meb,” she declared after she made it across the finish line to cheers from the watching crowd.

With a comfortable time of 2 hours 26 minutes 53 she was a full minute faster than rival and three time winner Mary Keitany from Kenya, who sprinted in this year with a time 2 hours 27 minutes and 54 seconds.

Flanagan, who self-identifies as an Irish American, grew up in the northern Massachusetts town of Marblehead. Her mother, Cheryl Bridges, was a record holding long distance runner herself back in the day and young Shalane was an early star of her High School team - winning handily state cross country races.

Its a problem. I'm Irish and my sister lives in Ft. Collins, CO http://t.co/6mEOALQAJo

Posted by Shalane Flanagan on Monday, September 9, 2013

In 2008 she represented the United States at the Beijing Olympics in the 10,000 meters, winning a bronze. This August, nearly a decade on from the race itself, however her name suddenly exploded onto the sports pages after it was announced she had in fact placed second in the race: the original silver medal winner, Elvan Abeylegesse, had failed a doping test and the result was she was deprived of her medal along with her good name.

She was offered a ceremony but humbly declined.

“To be honest, I talked to my family and my coach and I said, ‘Well, what’s important to you guys?” she told USA Today.

“Because I had my moment in Beijing. And the thing is, it was a wonderful moment. I have no regrets about it. I have the fondest memories of that experience of being in that stadium. I actually don’t feel the need to change it, that experience. I got to stand on a podium.”

Clearly both a fast woman and a humble woman, but now her name is on the front pages of newspapers across America she hopes one thing comes from it: “Hopefully it inspires the next generation of women to just be patient. It took me seven years to do this. A lot of work went into this one moment.”

H/T: NY Times

“In 2014 Meb Keflezighi won the Boston marathon for our nation and to heal our nation and I felt like when I saw when I saw the events unfold this past week, I thought this is the moment that Americans need, something to feel good about,” she confided to Good Morning America. Wikimedia Commons