Lin­den ends U.S. drought in rain

Michi­gan run­ner first Amer­i­can woman to win Boston Marathon ti­tle since 1985

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JIMMY GOLEN

De­siree Lin­den splashed her way through icy rain and a near-gale head­wind to win the Boston Marathon on Mon­day, the first vic­tory for an Amer­i­can woman since 1985.

The two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston run­ner-up pulled away at the end of Heart­break Hill to win in 2 hours, 39 min­utes, 54 sec­onds. That was more than four min­utes bet­ter than sec­ond-place fin­isher Sarah Sell­ers - one of seven Amer­i­cans in the top 10 - but the slow­est time for a women’s win­ner in Boston since 1978.

“It’s sup­posed to be hard,” said Lin­den, who wiped the spray of rain from her eyes as she made her way down Boyl­ston Street alone. “It’s good to get it done.”

Yuki Kawauchi passed de­fend­ing cham­pion Ge­of­frey Kirui as they passed through Ken­more Square with a mile to go to win the men’s race in 2:15:58 and earn Ja­pan’s first Boston Marathon ti­tle since 1987. Kirui slowed and stum­bled across the Co­p­ley Square fin­ish line 2:25 later, fol­lowed by Shadrack Bi­wott and three other U.S. men.

“For me, it’s the best con­di­tions pos­si­ble,” Kawauchi said with a wide smile through an

in­ter­preter.

On the fifth an­niver­sary of the fin­ish line ex­plo­sions that killed three and wounded hun­dreds more, Lin­den and Kawauchi led a field of 30,000 run­ners through a drench­ing rain, tem­per­a­tures in the mid-30s and gusts of up to 32 mph on the 26.2-mile trek from Hop­kin­ton.

In Co­p­ley Square, Crowds

only partly thinned and muf­fled by the weather greeted Lin­den with chants of “U-S-A!”

Lisa Larsen Wei­den­bach’s 1985 vic­tory was the last for an Amer­i­can woman - be­fore the race be­gan of­fer­ing prize money that lured the top in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors to the world’s old­est and most pres­ti­gious an­nual marathon.

Lin­den, a Cal­i­for­nia na­tive who lives in Michi­gan, nearly ended the drought in 2011 when she was out­kicked down Boyl­ston Street and fin­ished sec­ond by 2 sec­onds dur­ing yet an­other Kenyan sweep.

But the East Africans who have dom­i­nated the pro­fes­sional era of the race had their worst per­for­mance in decades. Kirui was the only Kenyan in the top ten for the men’s race; de­fend­ing cham­pion Edna Ki­pla­gat, who was ninth, helped pre­vent a shutout in the distaff divi­sion.

Home­town favourite Sha­lane Flana­gan, a four-time Olympian and the reign­ing New York City Marathon cham­pion, fin­ished sixth af­ter pop­ping into a course-side por­ta­ble toi­let be­fore the halfway point and fall­ing be­hind the lead pack.

Mar­cel Hug of Switzer­land earned his fifth wheel­chair vic­tory, push­ing though pud­dles that sent the spray from their wheels into his eyes. Amer­i­can Tatyana McFad­den, won the women’s wheel­chair race for the fifth time, wore two jack­ets, with a layer of plas­tic be­tween them and hand warm­ers against her chest.

“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.”

AP PHOTO

Yuki Kawauchi, left, of Ja­pan and De­siree Lin­den of Wash­ing­ton, Mich., hoist the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the men’s and women’s di­vi­sions of the 122nd Boston Marathon on Mon­day.

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