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Desiree Linden Just Became the First American Woman to Win the Boston Marathon in Three Decades

The drought is over for American women at the Boston Marathon. Desiree “Desi” Linden, 34, became the first American woman to win the women’s race since Lisa Larsen Weidenback did so in 1985 after pulling away from a competitive field and battling unusually cold, wet and windy conditions.

The win marked redemption for Linden, who performed in the elite field at Boston throughout her career and lost the 2011 Boston Marathon title by just six seconds. Linden, a two-time Olympian, came out on top Monday when she pulled away from the chase pack and took the lead from Ethiopian runner Mamitu Daska toward the end of the race. For the final five miles of the race, Linden expanded her lead and crossed the finish line, drenched from the rain and with no other runners in sight. Linden won the women’s race with an unofficial time 2:39.54 — more than 10 minutes off the her personal record but a substantial effort amid Boston’s harsh weather conditions on Monday.

“It’s storybook,” Linden told NBC Sports of her win. “I’m thrilled to be here and get it done.”

“Even on a day like today where it’s pretty miserable out,” she added, “people show up and they embrace the race.”

Linden’s victory answered months of speculation as to whether a U.S. woman could win due to a talented American field in this year’s race. Professional distance runners Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle and Sara Sellers, among several others, joined Linden in the women’s race, and Americans filled six of the top eight finishers. Flanagan, one of the favorites among the Americans, came in seventh with an unofficial time of 2:46.31. In November 2017, Flanagan won the TCS New York City Marathon — similarly becoming the first American woman to do so since 1977.

Sportsmanship among the Americans was on full display during the race, particularly when Linden held back toward the beginning of the race to help Flanagan catch up to the pack after stopping at a port-a-potty. In an interview after the race, Linden said she wasn’t feeling well, considered dropping out mid-race and chose to instead try to help Flanagan, a Massachusetts native who was vying for a Boston title.

“When you work together, you never know what’s going to happen,” Linden told NBC Sports. “Helping her helped me.”

Flanagan and Linden have represented the U.S. together throughout their careers, including at the Olympic marathon in 2012 and 2016.

History was also made this year on the men’s side when Yuki Kawauchi became the first Japanese man to win the race since Toshihiko Seko won in 1987.

Linden and Kawauchi’s new titles also come with a big pay day. They will each receive $150,000 prize, provided by John Hancock Financial, the largest sponsor of the Boston Marathon. The top 15 winners on the men’s and women’s sides will also receive financial prizes, with second-place finishers winning $75,000 and third-place finishers winning $40,000 each.

2 months ago
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These Are the 6 Best Strength Exercises for Runners

Strength training plays a key role in your development as a runner, helping to build muscle so that your body can handle the repetitive stress of all that pavement pounding. And the stronger you are, the faster you’ll go. "Running is all about creating force," explains Tamara Pridgett, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified trainer and All-American sprinter, who also recommends sneaking in some core work during your training. "The more force you can generate, when done with proper technique, the faster you’ll run—and to improve the max force we apply to the ground, one must lift weights." Here, her favorite run-strong moves.

1. Barbell Squat

These help build strength in your legs and contribute to overall power when running. Stand...

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I Suffered a Debilitating Head Injury in the Boston Marathon Bombing. One Year Later, I Completed the Race

 

Like many Bostonians, Lynn Julian Crisci looked forward to the Boston Marathon every year. She wasn’t a runner. Far from it. Ever since 2006, when she slipped on an electrical cord during a performance with her band and was knocked unconscious from the blow to her head, she’d been suffering from symptoms of a severe concussion. She’d been bedridden for a time, due to the fatigue and dizziness, then eventually pushed herself, through hours of therapy, to get around by wheelchair, then walk with a cane.

By April 15, the day of the 2013 marathon, she was finally walking without a cane, taking acting classes and feeling healthy. “Things were looking up,” she recalls. “I thought the worst of it was behind me.”

The...

2 months ago
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This Woman Ran 26.2 Miles Along the Boston Marathon Route While Pushing Her Quadriplegic Boyfriend

For years, running has been a way for me to relax, unwind, and take some time for myself. It has a way of making me feel strong, empowered, free, and happy. But I never truly realized what it meant to me until I was faced with one of the greatest adversities of my life.

Two years ago my boyfriend Matt, whom I'd been with for seven years, called me before he was headed to play a basketball game for a local league he was in. Calling me before a game wasn't a habit for him, but that day he wanted to tell me that he loved me and that he was hoping I'd cook dinner for him for a change. (FYI, the kitchen is not my area of expertise.)

Begrudgingly, I agreed and asked him to skip basketball and come home to spend time with me instead. He assured me the game would...

2 months ago
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