Des Linden says that the cancellation of New York this year could extend her career by several years

The cancellation is not necessarily bad news for everyone. Des Linden, the top American finisher at last year’s marathon, had planned on running both Boston and New York this year after missing the Olympic team in February by just 10 seconds.

She told the Daily News that the cancellations of both marathons could extend her career by several years. Linden, who turns 37 next month, was thought to be at the tail end of her professional career, and had spoken frequently of an uncertain future after 2020.

“This is going to be a really good time to refresh,” Linden said. “I think we were putting all of our chips in (to 2020), and now it’s gonna be regroup and see, can we do this for the long haul for another three or four years? It might not be the worst thing.”

But Linden said she will miss the crowds and the atmosphere.

“You see that start, you get chills,” she said. “And the feeling goes throughout all the boroughs. It’s magical.”

The start is perhaps the most intractable problem for a mass road race in the coronavirus era. The New York City Marathon corrals all the runners on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. At the 50,000 runner mark, if socially distanced in the most efficient form possible, the field could stretch seven miles and perhaps more, according to one set of calculations.

Some marathon hosts, like Tokyo, have canceled the mass fields and held elite-only events. New York organizers said they opted against that to avoid large crowds of spectators.

The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April, had been postponed to September and then was canceled late last month.

Minutes after the New York announcement, the Berlin Marathon was canceled. With New York, Boston, Berlin, and the Olympics out of the running, four of the seven major marathons scheduled for 2020 will not be held.

While the London and Chicago marathons have not yet been nixed, organizers of both races said cancellation is a possibility. London was previously postponed from April to October.

posted Friday June 26th
by Dennis Young