History was made on Monday when an American woman won the Boston Marathon for the first in more than three decades, despite some seriously blustery weather. Photos of Desiree Linden's Boston Marathon run show the rain was no match for her. The victory was also the two-time Olympian's first time ever coming in first place in a marathon.
“It’s supposed to be hard,” Linden told The Associated Press. “It’s good to get it done.” With a finish time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 54 seconds, she outpaced the runner-up by four minutes.
Linden told CNN that she wasn't even sure if she would cross the finish line at the start of the race. In fact, she slowed down at one point to help Shalane Flanagan, who became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in more than 40 years in November. "When you work together, you never know what's going to happen," Linden told CNN. "Helping her helped me and kind of got my legs back from there."
She was able to rally and took the lead around the second hour. Linden's perseverance and pure athleticism are evident from photos of her historic run.
The temperature on Monday was in the mid-30s, with icy rain and high winds also creating atmospheric obstacles for the runners. Nevertheless, more than 30,000 people competed in the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Yuki Kawauchi of Japan won the men's race with a finish time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 54 seconds. He joked afterwards that the cold, rainy day encompassed "the best conditions possible" for a marathon, according to a Boston Marathon tweet.
The women's runner-up in the 2018 Boston Marathon, Sarah Sellers, was also American. Krista Duchene of Canada followed in third.
Until this year, an American woman hadn't won the race since 1985, when Lisa Rainsberger was the first to cross the finish line. "Keep in mind that in 1985, we had no gel products whatsover, and sports drinks were just making the scene, and were only available every 5K or so if we were lucky," Rainsberger wrote in Runner's World in 2007.
Linden is no stranger to long races — she competed in the marathon at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. She's also ran the Boston Marathon multiple times, finishing in fourth place last year. In 2011, she was runner-up after finishing 2 seconds behind the winner. She finally got her first place trophy this year.
As if her unexpected win wasn't already inspirational, Linden has motivated other runners via Twitter, too. "Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell," she tweeted last month. "Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better. My advice: keep showing up."
She reiterated that not giving up is the key to her success in a March interview with boston.com. “If you expect every day to be butterflies and cupcakes you’ll be very disappointed,” Linden told boston.com. “But if you quit the first time it gets hard you’ll be quitting pretty early on.”
Linden refusing to quit even though she didn't feel she had a strong start in Monday's marathon certainly paid off.
Her other strategy is to try to stay relaxed at the beginning of a race, rather than overthink how she's doing. "Paralysis by analysis is very real. If you’re overthinking everything and too engaged when the racing really hasn’t started yet, that can be detrimental," she said.
As runners get closer to the finish line, it's all about instincts and "how much you want it," Linden said. Based on her win, she must have good instincts.