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Boston Marathon: Linden mulled dropping out

Union Leader wire services
April 16. 2018 10:39PM

Desiree Linden, the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985, almost dropped out as the wind and rain lashed runners on the 26.2-mile course.

Recalling the conditions as “brutal” and her freezing hands, Linden told reporters she felt the weather took speed away from others, meaning she could settle in and focus on winning the race.

But she also admitted she’d thought about dropping out, feeling “terrible.” But when she slid into third or fourth place while running, she realized dropping out wasn’t a good idea.

“Honestly I just felt miserable and sometimes when you pick it up, you forget how you’re feeling,” said Linden, a 34-year-old from Michigan.

She won the race in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 54 seconds.

She had also dropped back to help teammate Shalane Flanagan, waiting for her to finish a bathroom break.

Linden’s journey was “kind of mile by mile” until she made the right onto Hereford Street, the last stretch of marathon in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, she said.

“When I made the right on Hereford, I thought, ‘This is happening,’” she told reporters at a post-race press conference.

When the national anthem played after she won, Linden said she mentally replayed the scenario when she was just six miles in. “I thought, ‘No way, not my day’’s hilarious how it worked out.”

“It was definitely toughest conditions, on the cold side, that I’ve run in,” she added.

Linden credited the cheering fans who flocked to the soggy course despite the weather, as well as the support from John Hancock, a key sponsor of the Boston Marathon, and the Boston Athletic Association. “Everything was perfect on a really rotten day,” she said.

Linden first ran the Boston Marathon in 2007, and said she got into the sport of running because of the storied race. She finished second in 2011.

“This is storybook stuff,” Linden added.

The last American woman who won the Boston Marathon was Lisa Larsen Weidenbach.

Fellow American Sarah Sellers was second, 4:10 behind Linden.

Kawauchi wins men’s race

In the men's 26.2-mile race, Japanese amateur Yuki Kawauchi won in 2:15:58, his first major marathon victory. Kawauchi is known in the running community but works full time for the government in Japan and is without sponsorship. He is not regularly viewed as an "elite" marathon runner.

Kawauchi, 31, appeared stunned and emotional at the finish line. While he is a seasoned runner with more than 80 marathon finishes in his career, Monday's time in Boston adds to his record number of 2:20-and-under marathon finishes.

"For me, these are the best conditions possible," Kawauchi said after the race.

The last Japanese man to win the Boston Marathon was Toshihiko Seko in 1987. Kawauchi is the ninth Japanese male to win Boston. Kawauchi is dubbed a "Citizen Runner" and holds the world record for the fastest marathon in a full business suit and the top time wearing a panda costume. and Field Level Media

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