Today, Desiree Linden (aka Desi) became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. The weather in Boston this morning was pretty much nightmarish for runners, with 38 degree temperatures, pouring rain, and 10 mile an hour headwinds. Nevertheless, Linden crossed the finish line at 2:39:54.
Linden is an Olympic marathoner, and she ran the race with her fellow teammates, Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle, and Jordan Hasay. Around the 20K mark of the Boston Marathon, Flanagan had to use the bathroom — which happens when you're running — and Linden waited for her until she finished. Twitter obviously thought this was an amazing display of solidarity and women supporting women. The 13-second port-a-potty pit stop didn't hurt Linden's performance, though, and she regained the lead after mile 20.
As Linden neared the finish line, many fans were quick to point out that her victory was also a comeback. Last year, she placed fourth at the Boston Marathon, and told Runner's World she didn't feel like running for months. "I hated everything about running," she said. So, for the summer she chose to take a break, and came back for the New York City Marathon in November with a renewed excitement about running. Clearly, it paid off.
The Boston Marathon in particular has a rich feminist history. In 1967, women weren't allowed to run the race, but a runner named Kathrine Switzer registered for a bib and snuck in. Switzer was told by her running coaches that the marathon was too long for "fragile women," but she was determined. Race officials tried to physically take her out of the race when they discovered she was a woman, but Switzer managed to finish. Switzer and other women runners persuaded the Boston Athletic Association to let women participate, and in 1972, they were officially allowed to compete.
Linden is also making her mark on running history, as the first American woman in 33 years to win since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach. According to Runner's World Linden's time was the slowest finish in the last 40 years of Boston history — but it was also the worst weather condition in the race's history. There's no telling what Linden will do next in her career, but in the very near future, let's hope there's a dry change of clothes and "a massive burger and beers," which she said is her favorite post-race meal, waiting for her.
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