By Kyle Merber
July 6, 2022
It isn’t often that an American wins the Gold Coast Marathon — in fact, Lindsay Flanagan is the first to ever do it. Entering the 2022 season, Flanagan’s personal best had been a few years old coming from the Chicago Marathon (2:28:08) in 2018. But in April, the former University of Washington standout ran 2:26:54 in Paris, and she kept the good times going with another personal best of 2:24:43 to break the tape in Australia. I quickly caught up with her as she was enjoying a well-deserved vacation and some rest down under.
THE LAP COUNT: You had a solid spring of racing, highlighted by a 1:09:50 at the NYC Half Marathon and a 2:26:54 PB in Paris. Did you come into this past weekend knowing that you were due for such a breakthrough performance in the full?
LINDSAY FLANAGAN: I felt like I was in the shape of my life before Paris in April and thought I would run a bit quicker there. Of course, it was great to PR given the tough course and separate women’s start, but I left that race a bit dissatisfied.
I knew I had a bigger PR in me, but, to be honest, wasn’t sure exactly where my fitness was at coming into Gold Coast. Training hadn’t gone perfectly in this shortened build up (but when does it?!) and even though the effort was there, a lot of my workouts were quite a bit slower with the summer heat. I even requested a slower pace than 1:12 through halfway. But my coach reassured me I would be fine — I’m glad I listened!
So, given all of that, I’m thrilled with Sunday’s performance and think that my pre-Paris fitness carried over really well. I had no idea what my final time would be, as I wasn’t checking splits while out on the course, so to make that final turn and see 2:24 on the clock was amazing.
THE LAP COUNT: Of all the races out there, why did you choose to run the Gold Coast Marathon? How did you like running a “smaller” race in comparison to some of the Majors that you have done in the past like Boston or Chicago?
LINDSAY FLANAGAN: I decided on Gold Coast last December when Benita [Willis] and I were discussing my 2022 race schedule. I was coming off a pretty ugly and disappointing fall marathon and knew it was time to mix things up to bring some excitement back. With the trials still two years away, we decided this was the year to take some risks and run 3 marathons. I had heard great things about the half at Gold Coast, so knew the full would be a well-run event and a good opportunity to run fast. It’s also an Asics race and I wanted to represent them well.
Gold Coast is a smaller marathon, about 5,000 runners, but I really liked the ‘low-key’ environment. I love the Majors but it was nice to have minimal obligations before and I felt like I got to know the race staff, organizers, and other athletes well.
Lindsay Flanagan 2:24:43 CR and PB unoff to win Gold Coast Marathon. pic.twitter.com/A3aTVGiSVd
— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) July 2, 2022
THE LAP COUNT: What do you most attribute to your two big personal bests in the marathon this year? I know you have started working with a new coach, Benita Willis, so what’s been working so well?
LINDSAY FLANAGAN: I attribute my recent PRs to consistency and being able to handle more volume and true marathon sessions. Until relatively recently, I was probably training more like a 10k runner, with mileage in the mid-90s and lower volume speed/tempo sessions. I’m actually quite happy I did this type of training for so long because had I been doing the volume and workouts when I started running marathons at 25 years old that I am now at 31, I’m not sure what my improvement would be like.
Benita has been a fantastic coach and has really gotten me out of my comfort zone with longer sessions. She is quite knowledgeable and was an incredible athlete herself — she ran 2:22, won World Cross Country… the list of her accomplishments could go on and on — so I absolutely trust the training she gives me. We’ve been on the same page since day one and, most importantly, get along really well.
THE LAP COUNT: There is a lot of advice out there for athletes who need to bounce back after bad races. But it can also be challenging to keep things going after finishing a great race. How do you keep this momentum when running is going well and everything is clicking?
LINDSAY FLANAGAN: This was marathon number 14 and it’s taken quite a few tries to get it right. There’s been a lot of heartbreak which makes good races like this one so much sweeter. I’m able to keep the momentum going by remembering how fortunate I am to do this for a living. I mean I’m currently vacationing post-race in Australia?! I am also an incredibly driven and competitive person, like most athletes, and am never fully satisfied with a performance. I’m always looking for ways to improve and get more out of myself while competing, which means not being afraid to take on big challenges and step on more start lines.
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After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.