"But I think that was when Bill Rodgers wasn't known as Bill Rodgers yet," Shalane Flanagan said. "It was just the beginning of Bill Rodgers."
Shalane, a 15-time All-American at North Carolina and a 2004 Olympian in the 5,000 meters, took the lead early and finished the 4.748-mile course at the Manchester Road Race in 24:30. Ireland's Mary Cullen was runner-up for the second consecutive year (24:33) and five-time winner Amy Rudolph of Providence was third (24:43).
The women's field was deep. Kate O'Neill, a Yale graduate and Olympian, was fifth (25:16). Claudia Camargo, an Argentinean runner who lives in Danbury, finished ninth (25:50). And Marie Davenport, an Irish Olympian who lives in Guilford, was 10th (26:05).
Steve Flanagan grew up in Brooklyn, Conn. and went to UConn, where he specialized in the half-mile from 1966 to 70 and was a teammate of John Vitale, who won the race in 1970.
Shalane, who lives in Portland, Ore., grew up in Marblehead, Mass., where her family lives now. Both she and her dad ran Thursday and were heading north for Thanksgiving dinner after the race.
"It's been somewhat of a family tradition," Shalane said. "My father's run here a couple times. I've always wanted to run it, but this was the first year it's finally come together with my training and my health."
Flanagan had surgery on her left foot and had been out of competition for more than a year. She last ran in the semifinals of the 5,000 meters at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, in August 2005.
She took the lead right away Thursday.
"I worked on the big hill and just pushed aggressively up it," Flanagan said. "I hoped to maintain that on the downhill and see what happened on the straightaways."
Cullen tried to catch her, in vain. Last year, Cullen finished second to former Providence College teammate, Kim Smith of New Zealand, but this year she ran 27 seconds faster.
"Bridesmaid again," Cullen said. "I'll be back next year, if they'll have me back. It's a great race. It's a tough race to win."
Cullen has never beaten Flanagan.
"I've never been that close to her," Cullen said. "She's obviously a strong competitor. I would have liked to win the race, but I was happy with the way I ran."