Greatest Outdoor Dynasties: The Flanagans

Can you say “good genetics”? These six clans own their fields generation after generation.

    Photo: Kevin Scanlon

When Olympian Shalane Flanagan finished fourth in the 117th Boston Marathon with a time of 2:27:08, she was following in the footsteps of her father, Steve, who ran a 2:20:42 on the same course in 1980.

But Shalane didn’t inherit her marathoning genes from just her dad; her mother, Cheryl Treworgy, was a marathon world-record holder in the 1970s. “We haven’t run together since she was in middle school,” Cheryl says. “She kept getting better and I kept getting older and slower. By college I couldn't keep up with her in her warm-downs.”

For the Flanagans, being a running family has always meant a shared commitment to the competitive lifestyle. “Growing up where fitness is everyone’s priority makes the choices easier,” Cheryl says. “Healthy food, sleep habits and scheduling workouts is not just a conversation topic,  it's real and gets done.”

Shalane’s sister Maggie, a runner who completed the Boston Marathon this year, agrees: “I think having a family-shared passion just makes it easier to find someone to keep you company on the days when your motivation is low,” she says.

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