Two-time Olympian Desiree Linden overcame the cold, driving rain and strong headwinds on Monday to become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.
Linden made her move just past mile 21 to move ahead of Gladys Chesir of Kenya and quickly put distance between herself and every other woman on the course. After finishing as the runner-up in 2011, losing by just two seconds in the final moments of the race, Linden crossed the finish line in 2:39.54 to become the first U.S. woman since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach to claim the title in one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. It was Linden’s sixth time running the Boston Marathon, with four top-10 finishes before Monday’s win, and her first major marathon victory.
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In the men’s race, defending champion Geoffrey Kirui struggled in the final miles and lost to Yuki Kawauichi, who won in 2:15.54. Kurui was second with a time of 2:18.21 while U.S. runners took the third and fourth spots. Shadrack Biwott was third with a time of 2:18.32 and Tyler Pennel was fourth in 2:18.57.
American women took six of the top seven spots in the race. Sarah Sellers finished second with a time of 2:44.05 while Rachel Hyland was fourth in 2:44.29.
Linden’s 2016 Olympic teammates, Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle, were also competing, making it potentially the strongest U.S. women’s field ever in Boston. Huddle finished 13th in her Boston debut. Flanagan, who became the first U.S. woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon in 2017, finished sixth with a time of 2:46.31.
Linden, 34, of Chula Vista, California, finished seventh at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and did not finish in London in 2012. She made her marathon debut in Boston in 2007.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.