4 LIFE LESSONS FROM THE FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN TO WIN THE NYC MARATHON IN 40 YEARS

  ©Boston Herald

©Boston Herald

One week, at this year's New York City MarathonShalane Flanagan did what no American woman has done in 40 years: she won. The four-time Olympian beat the three-time NYC winner Mary Keitany to win the 2017 New York City Marathon in an astonishing 2:26:53 hours. Her victory came after a seven year-long road of frustrations and disappointments over the past decade, yet she knew she had to persevere, remain patient and keep working hard, in order to get her first major win.

Success is often based on outworking other people, both in terms of effort and hours spent. Yet success is also based on patience. Everyone defines success differently, but if you define success as accomplishing something you set out to accomplish, especially something incredibly difficult or challenging, hard work and perseverance are the great equalizers. You may not be smarter than everyone else. You may not be as talented. You may not have the same great connections, the same great environment, or the same great education. You may have none of those things, but you can always rely on your courage, your effort, and your patience. So, here are four life lessons from Flanagan, that go beyond running and inspiring to your individual path to success.

TAKE SETBACKS IN STRIDE

Until Sunday, winning a World Marathon Major kept slipping away. She won the US Marathon Olympic Trials, but failed to win in the Games. She ran the Boston Marathon in American-record time, but only came seventh. She kept believing in herself and said: “I just kept telling myself that there is going to be delayed gratification and a moment down the road that would make up for it.”

SELF CARE PAYS OFF IN THE LONG RUN

She took ten weeks off from running this year to heal her lower back injury. Instead of lacing up her shoes, she spent time with her family and focused on her cookbook "Run Fast. Eat Slow." other commitments. Taking that time to heal herself gave her fresh legs for her this incredible performance in New York City. I do not want to compare myself to this amazing athlete, but I certainly agree to this statement and came to experience the benefits from taking a break from training myself this summer.  

PUT IN THE WORK

Most marathoner runners dedicate four to six months to finish the 26.2-mile race. People train regularly, give up drinking and pick up a healthy diet, in order to complete the course. Flanagan has been putting in the work for over seven years to condition herself to win this race. It requires a lot of self-discipline and perseverance to reach your goals. It is crucial to shift the focus from instant to delayed gratification.

BE A GOOD SPORTSMAN

Flanagan won graciously, turning around and hugging second place finisher Keitany before taking a short victory lap to thank the crowd. Sport consists of multiple stakeholders, above all your competitors. Respect your peers and they will respect you. Also, about appreciate the journey and progress towards your goal, instead of taking taking short cuts. It goes hand-in-hand with Confucius words: "Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you."