Lin­den 1st U.S. fe­male win­ner since 1985

Orlando Sentinel - - RUNNING / COLLEGE FOOTBALL / AUTOS -

BOS­TON — Af­ter slog­ging through just a few miles of icy rain and a near-gale head­wind that made her feel like she was run­ning in place, De­siree Lin­den de­cided she’d seen enough of the Bos­ton Marathon for an­other year.

“My hands were freez­ing, and there are times where you were just stood up by the wind. It was com­i­cal how slow you were go­ing, and how far you still had to go,” Lin­den said.

“At six miles I was think­ing, ‘No way, this is not my day,’ ” she said. “Then you break the tape and you’re like, ‘This is not what I ex­pected to­day.’ ”

A two-time Olympian and the 2011 Bos­ton Marathon run­ner-up, Lin­den de­cided to stick around, out­last­ing the weather and the rest of the field to win the race’s 122nd edi­tion on Mon­day in 2 hours, 39 min­utes, 54 sec­onds. That was more than four min­utes bet­ter than sec­ond-place fin­isher Sarah Sell­ers but the slow­est time for a women’s win­ner in Bos­ton since 1978.

Yuki Kawauchi splashed through the pelt­ing rain, tem­per­a­tures in the mid-30s and wind that gusted as high as 32 mph to win the men’s race, pass­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion Ge­of­frey Kirui in Ken­more Square to earn Japan’s first Bos­ton ti­tle since 1987 and the $150,000 first prize.

Wear­ing a white wind­breaker that was drenched and bil­low­ing in the wind, Kirui slowed and stum­bled across the Co­p­ley Square fin­ish line in sec­ond, 2:25 back, fol­lowed by Shadrack Bi­wott and three other U.S. men. The winning time of 2:15:58 was the slow­est since Jack Fultz over­came tem­per­a­tures in the high 90s to win 1976’s “Run for the Hoses.”

“For me, it’s the best con­di­tions pos­si­ble,” said Kawauchi, who com­peted in 12 marathons last year — six times the usual num­ber for an elite run­ner — and also works as a school ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Run­ners donned hats and ex­tra lay­ers, and the lead packs tried to draft off the me­dia truck to avoid the rain that was hit­ting them hor­i­zon­tally at times. Wheel­chair win­ners Mar­cel Hug of Switzer­land and Amer­i­can Tatyana McFad­den, both five-time cham­pi­ons, said they were un­able to see through the spray that spun off their wheels.

“It was just tough; it was so freez­ing,” Hug said through chat­ter­ing teeth as a vol­un­teer draped a sec­ond towel around his shoul­ders. “I’m just very glad that I made it.”

McFad­den said she wore two jack­ets, with plas­tic bags be­tween lay­ers to stay dry, and hand warm­ers against her chest. The wet roads made it treach­er­ous to turn and im­pos­si­ble to stop.

“I could start to feel my arms get­ting heavy just from all the rain soak­ing in,” she said. “You can’t put your brakes on right away, so you had to be te­dious on the turns. I couldn’t even see be­cause the wind was so strong.”

On the fifth an­niver­sary of the fin­ish-line ex­plo­sions that killed three and wounded hun­dreds more, Lin­den be­came the first U.S. woman to win since Lisa Larsen Wei­den­bach in 1985 — be­fore the race be­gan of­fer­ing prize money that lured the top in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors to town.

Lin­den nearly ended the drought in 2011 when she was out­kicked down Boyl­ston Street and fin­ished sec­ond by 2 sec­onds. This time she made the turn off of Here­ford with a lead of more than half of a mile.

“Prob­a­bly 2011 is what put the fear in me,” Lin­den said. “That sprint bat­tle is not su­per fun. It was nice to get it right down Boyl­ston this time, that’s for sure.”

A 34-year-old Cal­i­for­nia na­tive who lives in Michi­gan, Lin­den said she was so bro­ken by the weather that she wanted to drop out af­ter a cou­ple of miles but in­stead stuck around in case she could help one of her fel­low Amer­i­cans. When four-time Olympian and reigning New York City Marathon cham­pion Sha­lane Flana­gan fell be­hind af­ter need­ing a bath­room break, Lin­den let her draft so she could catch up to the pack. Later, she helped Molly Hud­dle re­con­nect with the group.

“And it turned out I was in third, and I thought, ‘Well, I prob­a­bly shouldn’t drop out,’ ” said Lin­den, who also earned $150,000.

Sell­ers, who fin­ished 4:10 be­hind, is a full-time nurse who had to train be­fore or af­ter work — at 4 a.m. or 7 p.m.

She said didn’t be­lieve it when she was told she had fin­ished sec­ond, or that she earned $75,000.

“Yeah, I’m in shock about that,” she said.

It was the sec­ond com­pet­i­tive marathon for Sell­ers, who was a dis­tance run­ner at We­ber State. As­so­ci­ated Press

ELISE AMEN­DOLA/AP

De­siree Lin­den, 2nd in the 2011 race, cel­e­brates her vic­tory Mon­day in Bos­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.