After winning the 2018 Boston Marathon in cold, rainy, windy conditions, a part of Desiree Linden was hoping for a weather repeat one year later.
“The weather has been kind of the curve ball kind of all week,” Linden said. “You kind of had my fingers crossed that it would be cold, nasty, wet, the whole thing like last year. I said, ‘Bring that on, I’m ready for that.'”
In the end, the temperatures were warmer, and the rain subsided for much of the time during the elite runners’ portion of the 2019 marathon. Despite running 12 minutes faster than her winning time, Linden had to settle for 5th place. Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa charged to the lead after a few miles and never looked back, winning with a time of 2:23:31.
Linden was well aware of Degefa, citing her 2:17:41 marathon time in Dubai earlier in 2019.
“Early on seeing Degefa go out, you know her ability, you know what she’s done in Dubai,” Linden said. “You wonder how it translates to [Boston’s] course. But when she started putting down super quick miles, you say this is her race to lose and hope she comes back to the pack.”
Even though the chase group that Linden was in never caught Degefa, the defending champion finished strong, noting afterward that “anytime you finish top five in Boston, that’s a win.”
“It was pretty surprising how much racing we were doing very early on,” Linden said of the in-race strategy. “There was lot of interesting tactics going on through the first half. [Miles] 8-15 I didn’t know if I had enough to get to the end of this. Burning too many matches, getting involved. It was fun, but you know what the marathon is and you respect the distance and the course, and that was part of getting into the back half where the challengers are.”
Linden praised the crowds for continual support.
“The crowds are fantastic,” Linden noted. “It’s actually a sign I’m pretty old that they know me now.”
When asked if she was tearing up near the finish line (as she waved to the crowds), Linden produced a humorous but blunt assessment.
“I’m going to be totally honest with you,” Linden joked. “That was me almost vomiting.”
Linden was reminded during the post-race press conference that she has now finished first, second, fourth, and fifth in Boston over the past decade.
“I would love the third [place] just to get the set,” Linden quipped. “I think that would look really good at my desk. No, I am super proud of how hard I have worked here. I love the sport and I love the city. I think this course was built for me. Whatever competitors, whatever field, I am always going to represent.”
The 35-year-old concluded her press conference to a round of applause from fans as she cracked open a “26.2 Brew” beer handed to her by her coach.