Who will be the next American woman to stand on the top of the podium? We take a look at seven of the top contenders.
We’re not ashamed to admit that we’re still fist-pumping over Shalane Flanagan’s victory at the New York City Marathon. Her victory was a long time coming–40 years, to be exact. But we’re also stoked about four more names: Allie Kieffer, Kellyn Taylor, Diane Nukuri and Stephanie Bruce. That’s right–five American women finished in the top 10 at this year’s NYC Marathon. After years of African and European dominance at the 26.2-mile distance, the women of the United States are having a watershed moment, and we are here for it.
Who will be the next American woman to stand on the top of the podium at a major marathon? Here’s who we’re watching:
Amy Hastings Cragg
Anyone who can hang with Flanagan is obviously speedy. Many know Cragg from her winning performance at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials, where she and Flanagan epitomized #squadgoals as they pushed each other to qualify for the Rio games. Despite a PR of 2:27:03, Cragg claims to still “have a lot to learn,” which makes us excited for what she has in store.
The 2012 National Cross Country Champion turned to marathon racing in 2015, and has consistently improved with each race. Based on her upward trajectory, we think her most recent performance, a 2:27:21 in Frankfurt, only scratches the surface of what she’s capable of achieving in the sport.
In her first time racing 13.1 miles, Hasay clocked a time of 1:08:40, the second-fastest half marathon debut by an American female. She followed it up with another spectacular debut–this time, a third-place finish at the Boston Marathon. Her 2:23:00 is the fastest debut marathon by an American woman–by nearly three minutes.
The day before Flanagan’s win, history was made in another race in NYC: Molly Huddle won the 2017 USA Track & Field 5K Championship, setting a new course record in the process. She holds the American record in the 10,000 meters (a distinction previously held by Flanagan). At the moment, she’s only completed one marathon–a 2:28:13 for third place in NYC in 2016–but when she’s ready to toe the line for another 26.2, she’ll be a force to contend with.
In “stories that make our jaw drop,” Allie Kieffer came out of seemingly nowhere to place fifth at this year’s NYC Marathon. It was only her third attempt at the distance–her first was a win in Miami, and her second was a world record for the indoor marathon. Her 2:29:39 in New York was 26 minutes faster than her previous PR. (What!?!)
The two-time Olympian is known for being calm, cool and collected in every race she runs. We yelled our faces off for her as she ran in the 2016 Olympic Trials (where she took second place), the Rio Olympics (where she placed seventh in 2:26:08) and the 2017 Boston Marathon (where she took fourth in 2:25:06). She took a break over the summer, and has eased back into shorter races. What will a fresh Linden look like in 2018? We’re excited to see.
Gwen Jorgensen, 2016 Olympic gold medalist in triathlon, announced today that she will be going for a spot on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team–in the marathon. Her first and only marathon, which she entered on a whim, yielded a 2:41:01 in NYC in 2016. She’s a wild card at the moment, but we suspect she’ll quickly lock in a spot in the upper echelons of the sport, just like she did in triathlon.