Boston, MA – According to Race director Dave McGillvray, 30,087 entered the 2018 Boston Marathon. 27,362 picked up their bib numbers. 27,042 started, and 95.5% of them finished, 25,882. Another testament to the perseverance of the running community and especially the Boston qualifiers. One athlete showed particular, long term perseverance.
John Lennon wrote “Instant Karma”, and in her sixth try on the olde race course Des Linden experienced it yesterday.
“I felt very bad early on,” the 2018 Boston Marathon women’s champion admitted at Tuesday morning’s press conference. “My gloves were saturated, I was making rookie mistakes. The day was setting up to be a disaster. So I thought, there was so much hype for the American women, let me help these guys out as long as I can.”
That’s why Des waited when Shalane Flanagan ducked into a porta-john between 11-12 miles as the course entered Wellesley. The pack was still only running 6:00 miles, so you could do your business and still have time to catch back up with a little help from a friend.
Then, when Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska pulled away with a 5:31 14th mike, fastest of the day so far, Des thought she could help Molly Huddle bridge the gap by breaking the wind for her. Because that’s what compatriots do, even if they are opponents, too.
“But when I turned around, I saw I was pulling away from everyone. Everybody was having a tough day. And I figured this was still the quickest way to get home, even if I blew up.”
She never did blow up, just blew by, first Daska after Kenya’s Gladys Chesir took the lead at the top of Heartbreak Hill. Then she blew by Chesir in the Haunted Mile between 21-22 as the course passed the Evergreen Cemetery. All that was left were four miles, and a million memories.
“I grew up on this course. I’ve had every experience in Boston, my debut (2007, 18th in 2:44), my breakthrough (2nd in 2011), the heartbreak of the (Olympic) Trials (2008). As a rookie (2007) I remember walking through the BAA museum, and they said,’one day we may want your shoes’. So the BAA, Hancock, the people of Boston, they are like family. This isn’t just a 26.2 mike race, this is THE Marathon. That’s what I was thinking when I broke the tape.
“This one was blood, sweat, and tears. Last year (4th, 2:25:07) I thought, ‘I want to break that tape, and I don’t think I can do it. I’m just wasting my time. Then a few months went by and I reconsidered. Maybe I can.”
And YES, she did. It was meant to be. Friend, compatriot and now champion. It was instant Karma.