On Monday, despite the dreary rainy weather, the Boston Marathon took place and it was one to remember. This year’s marathon became particularly important as this is the first time that an American woman won the marathon. Desiree Linden, going into the race, did not expect to win and even considered dropping out because she wasn’t drinking enough fluids. However, she persisted and created a historic moment for the 33rd edition of the Boston Marathon, finishing the race first in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 54 seconds.
She described her journey as one like the storybook: “I got out here in 2007 and debuted as a nobody. To win this course and in this race with that support group that has always believed in runners – and believed in me – is just awesome.”
Linden was born in California and has been running marathons because of her wish to run on the Boston course. This is not only the first victory of an American woman in Boston Marathon since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985 but also her very own first victory as well.
For the men’s race, Yuki Kawauchi, at the age of 31, won, becoming the first Japanese man to win the race since 1987.
The marathon started off in rough weather, at a temperature of 38 degrees and a headwind of about 10 miles per hour. Initially, Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia took the lead by almost half a minute, way ahead of all other contestants. Linden ran with Shalane Flanagan, and slowed when she needed to take a bathroom break 45 minutes into the race. The two joined the race quickly after this pause.
Kawauchi, who finished the race in 2 hours 15 minutes and 58 seconds, also struck us as a surprise. Unlike most marathon runners who ran races two or three times a year, he follows a different schedule running for corporate teams.
He has won all four marathons he has already run in 2018 and when he’s not running, he works as an administrator at a high school in Saitama Prefecture.
Opposite from the concerns from many others regarding the weather, he, in fact, recognized the weather as “instrumental” to his win. Even though studies have shown that the best results usually come out when the temperature is in the 40s, Monday’s condition had very tough wind, which created huge challenges to most other runners.
As Abdi Abdirahman, a United States Olympian who ran in the race commented about the weather condition of the Marathon: “the cold, the wet, and the rain – that’s the three worst things you can have, and you have that in one race”. These conditions led to in general slower race times as most contestants were reluctant to go in front to block the wind for the rest of the runners.
Harsh weather conditions were not unseen before in the history of the Boston Marathon. Just two years ago there was a strong headwind and in 2007, the race took place during a winter storm with a headwind speed of 30 miles per hour.
However, for the winners and those who completed the race, that just made everything more precious, as Linden said: “If it hadn’t been difficult, it probably wouldn’t mean as much.”