Desiree Linden put forth a strong effort but failed to defend her 2018 Boston Marathon title, fading from second place to finish the 26.2-mile course in fifth place clocking 2:27:00
“It was an honor to be back and I knew today was going to be a big test to defend but I had a blast out there,” Linden told NBC Sports Network. “Right around 18 (miles), I thought, ‘I think I’m done. Hang up the shoes, retire.' The Boston crowds are so phenomenal, they just kind of helped me regroup.”
Despite Linden joining the lead pack from the start and leading at times, it quickly became the chase pack as 28-year-old Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa separated from the group early and built about a 90 second lead before the 10 mile mark. Degefa won the race with a time of 2:23:30.
With much better racing conditions this year, 35-year-old Linden easily beat her championship time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds from a year ago.
Linden, who lives in Washington, Mich., put on a surge to take the lead of the chase pack with just over 10 miles to go, but the pack trailed Degefa by over two and a half minutes at that point. Linden and fellow American Jordan Hassay even moved into second and third-place, respectively, before Linden fell back from the pack. Hassay, 27, finished as the top American in third place with a time of 2:25:20.
“I think Jordan’s come here and done really well,” Linden said. “She’s in that third spot consistently and she’s going to have a breakthrough on this course. She’s going to make a name for herself. She is the future -- well, she is right now -- of American distance running. The future is bright.”
Linden went through the halfway mark at 1:13:09. Linden’s time has met the American Olympic qualifying standard. After claiming a $150,000 prize for winning last year, Linden will take home a $15,000 prize for fifth place this year.
What is next for Linden?
“Lunch right now, for sure,” Linden said. “Then, regroup ... You finish fifth and you go, ‘maybe there’s a little bit more.’”
posted Monday April 15th