Shalane Flanagan
Shalane Flanagan of the U.S. wins the New York City Marathon, Nov. 5, 2017. Reuters

Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan, 36, became the first U.S. female runner to win the New York City Marathon — the world's largest marathon — Sunday since Miki Gorman in 1977.

With an unofficial time of two hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds, Flanagan beat the three-time defending champion Mary Keitany of Kenya by a minute and one second. Official timings of the runners will be revealed later this month, reports said.

"I've dreamed of a moment like this since I was a little girl," Flanagan said in an emotional speech after the race. "So this means a lot to me, to my family and hopefully inspires the next generation of American women to just be patient. These are the moments that we dream of as athletes, and this is going to feel good for a really long time," she added, according to a report published in New York City Marathon website.

The 16-time national champion appeared to be quite moved as she approached the finish line. Flanagan had won the race in just her second appearance at the marathon.

She was born in Boulder, Colorado and raised in Massachusetts. Her mother, Cheryl Bridges was also a marathon runner and is best known for winning the 1971 Culver City Marathon in a world record time of 2:49:40. Bridges also represented the U.S. five times at the World Cross Country Championships with a best finish of fourth place in 1969.

Her father, Steve Flanagan, was a star distance runner who represented the U.S. in several world cross country championships.

Flanagan finished second in New York in her debut marathon in 2010. The Sunday marathon was her first one since finishing sixth at the Rio Olympic Games. She had fractured herself in in her lower back last winter due to which she missed the Boston Marathon in the spring, Star Tribune reported.

In an interview in 2012, Flanagan's mother was asked when she first suspected her daughter might turn out to be a talented runner, to which she said: "You could see it when she played soccer. She was a midfielder who just never wore down. She was one of the best at getting to the ball, but not strong enough to do a lot with it. When she got to high school, they had so many girls that they created three teams, and alternated the play time. Shalane got frustrated when she wasn't playing."

She added: "One weekend after I got divorced, I had both girls, and we were driving to a Junior Olympics cross country race that Maggie [Shalane Flanagan’s younger sister] was entered in. I said, 'Shalane, you’re going to be there, why not try it?' She did, and she won the race, and qualified for nationals. She won it off no training other than her soccer practices. At nationals, she finished 20th or something. That didn't sit well with her at all. When she got back, she made up her mind to be better prepared for her next running race," according to website of Runner's World, a monthly magazine for runners of all skills sets, published by Rodale Inc. in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.