The last time an American woman was the first person to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon was in 1985. On Monday, two-time Olympian Desiree Linden, 34, made history when she battled poor weather conditions and became the person who broke the tape at the end of the grueling race.
Linden came in with a time that was 14 minutes slower than her last two races, but the weather conditions during the race were not ideal, making a person- or course-record performance unlikely.
The temperature on Monday morning at the Boston Marathon’s starting line was announced as 30 degrees, and heavy rain often came pouring down on the runners, leading to slower paces.
Linden crossed the finish line after being on the course for 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 54 seconds. In 2011, Linden finished the marathon with a time of 2:22:38.
The second place finisher was also an American woman. Sarah Sellers came in just 4 minutes and 10 seconds behind Lindon.
“I don’t have the right words. I’m thrilled,” said Linden during an interview immediately after completing the race.
“It’s supposed to be hard,” she added, according to a report by the Huffington Post. “I was just lucky to get it done.”
On the men’s side, Yuki Kawauchi, a Japanese amateur, took top honors with a time of 2:15:58, landing his first major marathon victory.
While Kawauchi is known in the running community, he has no sponsors. He is also a full-time employee of the Japanese government and not traditionally viewed as an “elite” marathon runner.
“For me, these are the best conditions possible,” said Kawauchi after completing the race.
The last time a Japanese man was the first to cross the finish line was 1987. That honor went to Toshihiko Seko.
Kawauchi is referred to as a “Citizen Runner,” and holds the current world record for the fastest marathon time will wearing a full business suit as well as an additional record-setting run while wearing a panda costume.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) April 16, 2018