NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - At 36, Shalane Flanagan is in the best shape of her life. She broke boundaries and accomplished a lifelong dream of winning the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
How did she feel when she crossed the finish line?
"Well I think my face showed it quite a bit," she said. "Just all the emotions pouring out—extreme sense of validation and joy."
At 2 hours and 26 minutes, Shalane is the first American to win the women's New York City Marathon in exactly 40 years.
One day after the big race, she came back to the Central Park finish line, where hundreds of runners waited in line to get their hard-earned medals engraved.
The winners of other divisions were also honored Monday. Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya is the men's winner, clocking in at 2 hours and 10 minutes.
"It was really my dream to one day become a champion in New York," Geoffrey said. "And I'm really happy and I'm looking forward to coming back next year."
Shalane came in second place in the New York City Marathon in 2010 and hadn't come back since. She spent the last several years training in Oregon, though nine months ago she got a fracture in her lower back. Somehow, she recovered stronger than ever.
"Sometimes we set limits and boundaries on ourselves and sometimes it's important to set audacious and crazy goals," Shalane said. "And sometimes they actually can come true."
Shalane's story of triumph and perseverance has resonated with so many of the runners here. So many of the women runners we spoke to told us she is really a true inspiration.
Shalane isn't just calling this race her victory, she is calling it an American victory. She hopes she'll continue to inspire even more women and men to go after their dreams.