For World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach, there are still dreams to chase. On Sunday, that came in the form of the New York City Marathon.
Wambach ran the marathon in a time of 3:44.25 alongside former teammates Lauren Holiday (3:40.30) and Leslie Osborne (3:41.33) for the JLH Fund. Following the conclusion of her race, one of Wambach’s idols, Shalane Flanagan, presented her with her medal.
Flanagan, who had just finished an astounding sixth marathon in 43 days, is the 2017 NYC Marathon champion and 2008 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist.
“That was one of the most pleasant surprises of my life,” Wambach told NBC Sports following the race. “What a way to cross a finish line, to get a medal from one of your idols. It was incredible.”
A dream come true to finish a marathon. And then, who gives me my medal???!! @ShalaneFlanagan !!! Are you kidding me? So happy right now, and also so grateful to @on_running and @Gatorade for getting me to the finish line. https://t.co/CoS6P4Oyj1— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) November 7, 2021
A dream come true to finish a marathon. And then, who gives me my medal???!! @ShalaneFlanagan !!! Are you kidding me? So happy right now, and also so grateful to @on_running and @Gatorade for getting me to the finish line. https://t.co/CoS6P4Oyj1
“Why is life so beautiful,” Wambach’s wife, Glennon Doyle, tweeted following the marathon in reference to Flanagan gracing Wambach with her medal.
With a goal to run the marathon in under four hours, Wambach easily beat that time despite rolling her ankle four to five miles into the race. “It’s going to be swollen,” she said. “I’ve rolled my ankle a dozen times. You don’t think about and just keep moving forward.”
It also hasn’t stopped her from saying whether or not the NYC Marathon will be her last.
“I want to take a rest and then I’ll decide what’s next, whether it’s another marathon or another goal,” she said.
The impact of running the race as a trio did not slip past Wambach, Holiday and Osborne.
“We’ve been through literally everything together,” Holiday said, “so to go through this with them is really, really cool.”
The trio easily surpassed their goal to raise $26,200 for the fund in the days leading up to the marathon, accumulating $44,921.36.
“I thought about that like 100 times while I was running,” Holiday said. “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for something bigger. Everyone who donated to the JLH Fund, you helped me get over the line.”