Firsts, Fifths and Bitter Cold: The Boston Marathon Never Fails to Surprise
An American woman and a Japanese man took the top spots in the Boston Marathon while the men's and women's wheelchair races saw a familiar faces cross the finish line first.
Desiree Linden splashed her way through icy rain and a near-gale headwind to win the Boston Marathon on Monday, the first victory for an American woman since 1985.
Photos by The Associated Press
The two-time Olympian and 2011 Boston runner-up pulled away at the end of Heartbreak Hill to win in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. That was more than four minutes better than second-place finisher Sarah Sellers — one of seven Americans in the top 10 — but the slowest time for a women's winner in Boston since 1978.
"It's supposed to be hard," said Linden, who wiped the spray of rain from her eyes as she made her way down Boylston Street alone. "It's good to get it done."
In Copley Square, Crowds only partly thinned and muffled by the weather greeted Linden with chants of "U-S-A!"
Lisa Larsen Weidenbach's 1985 victory was the last for an American woman — before the race began offering prize money that lured the top international competitors to the world's oldest and most prestigious annual marathon. Linden, a California native who lives in Michigan, nearly ended the drought in 2011 when she was outkicked down Boylston Street and finished second by 2 seconds during yet another Kenyan sweep.
American Tatyana McFadden, won the women's wheelchair race for the fifth time, wore two jackets, with a layer of plastic between them and hand warmers against her chest.
Yuki Kawauchi passed defending champion Geoffrey Kirui as they passed through Kenmore Square with a mile to go to win the men's race in 2:15:58 and earn Japan's first Boston Marathon title since 1987. Kirui slowed and stumbled across the Copley Square finish line 2:25 later, followed by Shadrack Biwott and three other U.S. men.
"For me, it's the best conditions possible," Kawauchi said with a wide smile through an interpreter.
Marcel Hug of Switzerland earned his fifth wheelchair victory, pushing though puddles that sent the spray from their wheels into his eyes.
"It was just tough, it was so freezing," Hug said through chattering teeth as a volunteer draped a second towel around his shoulders. "I'm just very glad that I made it."
#Boston2018 Top Times (1/2):— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
1. Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:15:58
2. Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) 2:18:23
3. Shadrack Biwott @skiptoob (USA) 2:18:35
4. @TylerPennel (USA) 2:18:57
5. Andrew Bumbalough @abumbalough (USA) 2:19:52
#Boston2018 Top Men's Times (2/2):— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
6. Scott Smith (USA) 2:21:47
7. Abdi Nageeye (NED) 2:23:16
8. Elkanah Kibet @elkip2005 (USA) 2:23:37
9. @ReidCoolsaet (CAN) 2:25:02
10. Daniel Vassalo (USA) 2:27:50#BostonMarathon
On the fifth anniversary of the finish line explosions that killed three and wounded hundreds more, Linden and Kawauchi led a field of 30,000 runners through a drenching rain, temperatures in the mid-30s and gusts of up to 32 mph on the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton.
The Boston Athletic Association made note of the many historic moments this year on Twitter.
#Boston2018 was truly historic:— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
🌧Coldest #BostonMarathon in 30 years
🇺🇸@des_linden 1st American woman to win in 33 years
🇯🇵Yuki Kawauchi 1st Japanese man to win in 31 years
🇨🇭Marcel Hug 2nd Swiss man to win 4 consecutive times
🏆Tatyana McFadden won her 22nd @WMMajors
The searchable results of the race will be posted here once they are finalized.