Aleigha Warren ‘18: The sky nipped at itself, shivering while releasing it’s tears into the crowds below. Hoards of people gathered, huddled together against the rain that pelted their skin to support the runners that are competing in the 122nd Boston Marathon. Desiree Linden, a Southern-California and current Michigander, steadies herself for a race she will never forget.
At just 2 hours, 39 minutes and 54 seconds, Des Linden passes the finish line. She is the first American woman to win in 33 years. The last American woman victory was back in 1985, titled to Lisa Weidenbach just before the marathon began offering prize money. Linden competed in the race back in 2011, placing second behind Caroline Kilel by two seconds.
“I’m thrilled. I’m exhausted. I left it all out there. Now I’m ready to warm up,” Linden said. “It hurts right now, but it’s a perfect day for me. This is a grinder’s day. That’s why I keep showing up here, and I think that’s why I have success here, because I can tough it out through anything.”
Linden started her day in doubt, figuring that the day of the race, was not her day. But gears began to change after she helped fellow runner, Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 New York City Marathon Champion, after a bathroom break near the halfway point. From there on, Linden pushed her limits and scoured a first after taking a recent five month break from feeling “burnt out.” She strived through the top because of her consistent practices and knowing when her body speaks to her.
“My body and mind needed a reset,” Linden said. “I had done three really big, important, and stressful marathons in a row, and at the end of last year’s Boston Marathon, I knew that if I wanted to keep running races at a high level, I needed to hit reset in order to move forward.”
So as motivation, persistence and a love for something that makes her incredibly happy climbs her to the top, she will always remain the first American woman to place first in the last 33 years of the Boston Marathon. And she will be stand out to us, because big dreams can become true, even in a small state.