If the New York City Marathon is run in wintry conditions, Desiree Linden will be ready.
As the weather forecast for Sunday’s TCS New York City Marathon continues to veer more ominously toward wintry conditions, with start time temperatures in the upper 30s and a strong Northwesterly wind, the anxiety level of runners rises with every degree the predicted temperature drops.
But for Desi Linden, generally considered to be the top American female entrant, she maintains an attitude of “bring it on.”
Living and training most of the year in the Detroit suburbs, Linden, who set her PR of 2:22:38 in coming within a stride of winning the 2011 Boston Marathon, is no stranger to adverse weather, and sees tough conditions, like those predicted for Sunday as a great equalizer.
“Let’s face it, Mary Keitany is a 1:05 half marathoner,” she said at Thursday’s pre-race press conference. “She runs her ‘A’ game and I’m not even close to her. But if it’s cold and windy, maybe that slows her down a little and gives me a chance.”
Linden’s philosophy on weather is exactly in line with that of her coach, Keith Hanson.
“Weather should always be an advantage for you,” he said. “Because for someone in the field, it’s going to be a disadvantage, whether that’s real or perceived. If they worry about it being too hot or too windy, and you don’t, you’re going to run better than they are.”
Indeed, Linden feels her narrow loss to Caroline Kilel in Boston might have had a different outcome without the strong tailwind that aided the top runners that day. “If she’d had to fight a headwind part of the way, she might have been a little more tired at the end,” Linden said.
Besides the anticipated challenge of the weather, Linden looks forward to New York with its tougher course and unpaced fields. “It’s racing, not time trialing,” she said. “I really look forward to going head-to-head with other runners, trading moves, rather than just following a pacemaker the whole way. That’s what the Olympics and Trials are going to be like, so it’s good to get used to running that way.
“I think if it’s windy on Sunday people are going to be a little more cautious in the early going, and the pack will hang together longer,” she continued. “I don’t see anyone running away with it, which makes things more wide open.”
Come Sunday, Linden hopes the old adage that an ill wind blows no one good results in an American woman being in the New York winner’s circle for the first time since 1977.