For the first time in 33 years, an American has won the Boston Marathon. Desiree Linden took the women's race Monday with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes and 53 seconds. It was a rainy, gloomy day for the runners, but Linden and Yuki Kawauchi, the men's winner, were able to overcome the conditions to win.
Kawauchi, of Japan, won the men's division in 2:15:53. Linden, 34 and Kawauchi, 31, both had comeback wins.
Linden, 34, persevered after Ethiopa's Mamitu Daska broke away from the pack before the halfway point. She ran on her own for a time, but the pack's steady pace closed her nearly 30-second lead, with Linden and Kenya's Gladys Chesir wearing her down. Linden's time was the slowest for a women's winner since 1978, but it was still over four minutes faster than the second-place runner, the United States' Sarah Sellers.
Not that that mattered to Linden.
"It's supposed to be hard," she said, via the Associated Press. "It's good to get it done."
Linden nearly got it done in 2011, when she finished a mere two seconds away from winning. The last American to win the marathon was Lisa Larden Weidenbach in 1985.
Linden also endured a brief delay, when she waited for fellow American Shalane Flanagan, who had to duck out to take care of some. Granted, the delay wasn't long -- Flanagan only took slightly over 13 seconds, but a delay is a delay in a race like this.
When it was all said and done, seven of the top 10 spots were comprised of American women, with Rachel Hyland finishing fourth, Nicole Demurcurio coming fifth, Flanagan finishing sixth, Kimi Reed coming in seventh and Joanna Thompson rounding out the top 10 at No. 10.
For the men, Kawauchi, 31, overtook Geoffrey Kirui in Kenmore Square, becoming Japan's first champion since 1987. Even amid the horrid weather, Kawauchi seemed pleased with the conditions. "For me, it's the best conditions possible," he said through a translator, per the AP.
Even though the crowd may not have been as large as it normally would be, it's a huge win that snapped two long droughts. Both the United States and Japan can celebrate today.
The top American man was New Mexico's Shadrack Biwott, who finished in 2:18:35 in third place, in another field that was dominated by American runners. Tyler Pennel finished fourth, Andrew Bumbalough fifth, Scott Smith was sixth, Elkanah Kibet was eighth and Daniel Vassallo was 10th, giving the United States men six of the top-10 spots.
As for the winner, Kawauchi was humble after the race, thanking the Boston crowd despite its thinness. "It's the best crowd support I've ever had anywhere in the world. Thank you Boston," he said, via CBS Boston. Kawauchi also opted against having a sponsor, since he wanted to keep working as an administrator in a high school's office. The win will bring him a certain degree of fame, but something tells me staying grounded won't be an issue for him.
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