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American and Hansons-Brooks runner Desiree Linden has won the Boston Marathon! The six-time Boston runner broke the tape at 2:39:54 to be named the 2018 champion. Close behind her was Yuki Kawauchi from Japan with a 2:15:58 time to secure his top spot.
At the beginning of the women’s elite race, Ethiopian Mamitu Daska made her break early on as the rest of the pack played it safe and kept back in the first half of the course. But it was Heartbreak Hill where she lost her lead to Kenyan Gladys Chesir who was then quickly upstaged by American Des Linden at mile 21.
Coming off of five previous Bostons, the two-time Olympian looked strong and confident as she rounded out the last four miles of the race. Prior to gaining a lead, Linden stopped with American Shalane Flanagan to wait for her to use the restroom before the two continued on together. As minutes went by it was clear that Boston would have a new American champion in 2018 and one that would do anything to support her fellow runners. It’s been 33 years since the last American female broke the tape on Boylston Street and you could almost hear the nation erupt in cheers as Linden crossed the finish line in victory.
Prior to the race, Linden felt good and ready to compete, rain or shine. “I think I’m in a good spot, maybe not exactly where I was last year but certainly not a step behind,” shared Linden. “I don’t think I’ve done anything necessarily to close the gap from last year, but had a little bit of a break last Fall, I took a marathon off. So I feel a little bit fresher and mentally rejuvenated.”
Her mental and physical game were on point as she broke through the tape donning rain-soaked clothing and a huge smile. But it wasn’t all smiles all day. This year’s marathon was racked with some of the worst weather conditions in recent years with temperatures as low as 37 degrees and winds coming from the east at 10 to 20 mph. These side- and headwinds pushed runners throughout the entire course, ensuring that finish times would be much slower than previous years. Her time marked the slowest finish in the open division in 40 years.
On the men’s side, Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui was in the lead for most of the race but was overtaken by Japanese Yuki Kawauchi in the last miles of the course. Born in 1987, the marathoner came to prominence after running the 2011 Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37. He is often called the “citizen runner” since he works full-time for the government and runs in his spare time. Today, as he paced his way forward, it was back and forth for a bit between the two leads until he eventually crossed the line with arms raised. He’s the first Japanese man to win at Boston since 1987.
Also competing this year were 16 Boston Marathon champions: Edna Kiplagat (KEN), Geoffrey Kirui (KEN), Lemi Berhanu (ETH), Caroline Rotich (KEN), Lelisa Desisa (ETH), Buzunesh Deba (ETH) Joshua Cassidy (CAN), Marcel Hug (SUI), Masazumi Soejima (JPN), Ernst van Dyk (RSA), Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN), Tatyana McFadden (USA), Shirley Reilly (USA), Manuela Schar (SUI), Meb Keflezighi (USA) and Amby Burfoot (USA).
But it was this year’s elite American field that was the most talked about leading up to the 26.2-mile race. “In the Boston Marathon’s 122-year history, one will be hard pressed to find a more accomplished American field than the one John Hancock has established for 2018,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. “With Olympic medalists, Abbott World Marathon Majors winners, American record holders and more, this will be the most decorated U.S. fields in Boston Marathon history.”
Each year over 500,000 spectators watch the marathon from the sidelines as over 30,000 official entrants wind their way through eight cities and towns. More than $35 million is estimated to have been raised through the 2018 Boston Marathon for charities as part of the Official B.A.A. Charity Program and the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program. This was also the first year that the race’s estimated economic impact surpassed the $200 million mark.
Below are the official times for the elite men’s and women’s divisions:
- Desiree Linden (USA) (2:39:54)
- Sarah Sellers (USA) (2:44:04)
- Krista Duchene (CAN) (2:44:20)
- Rachel Hyland (USA) (2:44:29)
- Jessica Chichester (USA) (2:45:23)
- Nicole Dimercurio (USA) (2:45:52)
- Shalane Flanagan (USA) (2:46:31)
- Kimi Reed (USA) (2:46:47)
- Edna Kiplagat (KEN) (2:47:14)
- Hiroko Yoshitomi (JPN) (2:48:29)
- Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) (2:15:58)
- Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) (2:18:23)
- Shadrack Biwott (USA) (2:18:35)
- Tyler Pennel (USA) (2:18:57)
- Andrew Bumbalough (USA) (2:19:52)
- Scott Smith (USA) (2:21:47)
- Abdi Nageeye (NED) (2:23:16)
- Elkanah Kibet (USA) (2:23:37)
- Reid Coolsaet (CAN) (2:25:02)
- Daniel Vassallo (USA) (2:27:50)