Running Legend Shalane Flanagan Plans to Run 6 Marathons in 42 Days: 'I've Fallen Back in Love'

Two years after Shalane Flanagan retired from running, she will pound the pavement once again to run six marathons in seven weeks starting next week

Shalane Flanagan

Shalane Flanagan is back!

The running legend, who retired in 2019, recently announced her plan to run six world marathon majors in seven weeks this year — starting next week. The 40-year-old will tackle the marathons of Berlin, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, and New York City. And, she wants to do them all in less than three hours, she told PopSugar.

"I was like, this is incredible! Someone should do all of them this fall! And I thought, 'Why wouldn't I?' It's always been a bucket list item for me to do all of them," she told the outlet. "I had to kind of assess, can I do that? I'm retired, and I'm a coach, and a mom, and I've had two knee surgeries."

"So I just was like, I don't know if I'm capable of it, but I really want to have a goal again," she continued.

Since her retirement, the Olympic silver medalist and 2017 New York City Marathon winner has remained active as a professional coach.

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On Monday, Flanagan posted a letter to her Instagram page that said she had "fallen back in love" with running.

"Dear Running, It's me again, and I have fallen back in love with you. Only our relationship has a different texture than it did before," she wrote. 'There is a depth to it that I had never experienced in the past. It still feels familiar, but it's softer. It's lighter. It's changed for the better."

"There is a freshness to something I've done for over 20 years, and I think I finally know why," she added. "It took me retiring and not running for a year due to two reconstructive knee surgeries to realize you are my best friend. I need you to feel like myself. My best self."

Flanagan said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a unique situation where these major marathons have been scheduled within weeks of each other. It's something "that will never happen again in my lifetime," she said.

"Coming off of a year and a half where so much was taken away from the world, I thought …could this be a chance for you and me to take some of it back?" Flanagan explained on Instagram.

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Flanagan's feat will begin at the Berlin Marathon, taking place in Germany on Sept. 26. It will be followed by the London Marathon on Oct. 3; Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10; Boston Marathon on Oct. 11; the Portland Marathon on Oct. 17; and, finally, the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7.

"Ultimately, I'm hoping to embrace change and send a positive message to young women and showcase that sport is for life," Flanagan told SELF of what she hopes to accomplish by running the marathons. "If you engage in sport, it can transform your life for the better for a very long time."

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