A View from the Finish Line | Rockwall Athlete Chandler Self

On December 10, 2017, the nation, and world, saw Rockwall’s Chandler Self as she painstakingly won the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon. Whats it like to be a mom witnessing her daughter nearly collapse within sight of the finish line of a nationally televised marathon? And then, to see the video of the event re-posted on social media and in newspaper and TV news worldwide?

Rockwall resident Jan Self is that mom. She and daughter Chandler, both avid runners, had been looking forward to the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon for several reasons. Competing in a prestige event held locally was a big draw. Having competed in marathon events in other cities, such as New York and Chicago, they were looking forward to having the whole family in attendance. They were also excited about meeting world-class distance runner Shalane Flanagan. Flanagan, an Olympic medalist and 2017 New York Marathon winner, was scheduled to be an elite ambassador for the event. Jan and Chandler hoped to meet her and get an autograph.

Soon after the 8:00 morning start, all runners began to settle into their pace. Chandler had a great start, even as it looked like several of her fellow competitors were coming off the line much faster. But as the race progressed, Chandlers slow and steady pace eventually put her minutes ahead of the rest of the pack.


Start of the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon (Click on images to enlarge)

It wasn’t until about a half mile from the finish that Jan noticed on the TV monitor that Chandlers legs were beginning to wobble. Her daughters agonized expression as her legs repeatedly gave way from sheer exhaustion just seconds away from finishing in front of the pack at the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon was not comforting to witness. But mixed with concern was great pride in watching Chandler continue to get up after each fall, determined to make it across to place first in the womens division.

Chandler was helped to her feet several times by fellow runner Ariana Luterman, who was running with her as part of a relay with her high school. “We were concerned that Arianas assistance might disqualify her, but she was so far ahead of the others that, even if she had to crawl, she would still have finished first. Had there been prize money involved, she may well have been disqualified, but it was an amateur event and it was obvious to race officials that she would have won without the help.”


Ariana Luterman and Chandler Self

Jan did say that she appreciated the concern shown by Ariana. “I dont want to take anything away from what she was trying to do. She obviously didnt know the rules and was caught up in the moment. She did what she did for all the right reasons. But I knew in my mind that my little girl was gonna make it across no matter what!”

And there at the finish line holding the tape as Chandler lurched across with her last bit of strength was none other than her hero Shalane Flanagan.


2017 BMW Dallas Marathon | Shalane Flanagan, Chandler Self & Ariana Luterman

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From the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon press release:

”In an emotional finish, Chandler Self of New York won the female division of the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon, with a time of 2:53:55. Running a consistent 6:38 per mile pace for the majority of the race, Self built up more than a 2-minute lead between herself and the women’s second place finisher, Caitlin Keen, in the final miles. With 50 meters to go, Self began to falter and fell to the ground before regaining her footing to break the finisher tape. The Elite High School Relay team, a special BMW Dallas Marathon activation pairing 13 of the best amateur cross country, track and triathlon runners in North Texas to run a marathon relay, ran steadily next to Self for the final miles, giving spectators an exciting finish at the finish line. Caitlin Keen, a graduate of Southern Methodist University and current coach at Texas Christian University took second place with a time of 2:56:36.”

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As bad as things looked at the end of the race, Chandler was up and giving interviews within twenty minutes of the finish. Aside from a pair of scraped knees from the falls – Jan counted eight of them – she is doing fine. In fact, she was back at work in New York early the next morning.

The running gene seems to be prominent in the Self family makeup. Both dad Scott and brother Billy are veteran runners. Chandler and Jan ran together in the New York marathon a year ago. Given that, it should come as no surprise that, when things look grim to an outsider, a mom always knows when her baby is going to be just fine.

As we put this article together we wondered, “Did Chandler get that autograph from Shalane?” Her response: “I did! But not on race day unfortunately. I got to get her autograph the day before the race, at the expo!”

We were excited to hear back from Chandler (via Facebook messenger). Rockwall’s winning marathon celebrity had wasted no time in embarking on her next adventure. Chandler and her parents, Jan and Scott Self, had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, summitting at dawn New Year’s Day!


Scott, Chandler & Jan Self on their trek to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

(Click on images to enlarge)

By Bob Lewis / Planet Rockwall
Marathon photos courtesy Ryan Lange

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