Marathons (338)

Yuki Kawauchi and Desiree Linden were the winners of a Boston Marathon which overturned every possible form book of the IAAF Gold Label road race on Monday (16).

BOSTON — Boston Marathon week is upon us (okay, technically the race isn’t until next week) and in town, excitement is in the air even if spring is not — as I type this, it’s 35 degrees outside, with a windchill of 26. This year’s race is one of the most anticipated in the event’s 122-year history, and for good reason. For the first time in the Abbott World Marathon Majors era, Boston will feature two Americans who are defending AWMM champions in Shalane Flanagan (New York) and Galen Rupp (Chicago). Add in a strong men’s field with former Boston champs Lelisa Desisa (2013, 2015), Lemi Berhanu Hayle (2016), and Geoffrey Kirui (2017) and one of the strongest American women’s fields ever assembled (Flanagan, Molly HuddleJordan Hasay, and Desi Linden) and there should be two incredible races a week from today.

Ninety minutes after winning the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5, Shalane Flanagan was unsure if she would, at age 36, continue her competitive distance-running career. The next morning, still, the four-time Olympian hadn’t yet processed what to do after her landmark accomplishment.

But by early December, a month after crossing the Central Park finish line, Flanagan had decided.

The top European finisher in the 2016 women’s Olympic Marathon will be on the start line in Düsseldorf: Volha Mazuronak, who finished fifth in Rio, will run the METRO Marathon Düsseldorf on April 29. The world-class runner from Belarus should start as the women’s favourite while the addition of Japan’s Hideyuki Ikegami brings another leading runner to the men’s field.

An American woman hasn’t won the Boston Marathon since 1985. But there’s a confidence within this year’s elite runners that the 32-year drought will come to an end on April 16.

“I can’t wait to match up against this American crew. I think it’s going to be so fun. It’s the best group of Americans ever,” 2011 Boston Marathon runner-up Des Linden told WBZ-TV.

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Images: 2016 Olympic Games