BOSTON (AP/CBS) – Desi Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years Monday. It was a great day for American runners, with seven finishing in the women’s top 10 and for the second straight year six in the men’s top 10.
Sarah Sellers of the U.S. finished second and Shalane Flanagan, the New York City Marathon champion and Marblehead native, ended up finishing seventh.
Linden said she was so broken by the weather that she wanted to drop out after a couple of miles but instead stuck around in case she could help one of her fellow Americans. “Today it was bigger than one person, it was really all of us pushing each other,” Linden told WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller.
When Flanagan fell behind after needing a bathroom break, Linden let her draft so she could catch up to the pack. Later, she helped Molly Huddle reconnect with the group. “And it turned out I was in third, and I thought, ‘Well, I probably shouldn’t drop out,” said Linden, who earned $150,000.
Even with so many Americans finishing atop the leaderboard, one result popped out — a virtual unknown to the major marathon scene finishing in second place.
Sarah Sellers was just hoping for a top 15 result, but her time of 2:44:04 was good enough for second place on a day when gusty winds and pouring rains made the usual pace of an elite finish impossible.
Sellers, a full-time nurse in Arizona and Utah native, wound up walking away with $75,000 in prize money for her surprise podium finish, 4 minutes and 10 seconds behind winner Linden.
Not bad for what she said was just her second marathon ever.
“I’m in shock about that,” she said afterward about the payday.
She didn’t start Monday’s race with high aspirations.
“For me my goal was just to stay dry for the first couple of miles as I got warmed up,” she said.
Boy, did she ever. A former distance runner at Weber State, according to the school she posted the highest finish ever by a Utah native running in the Boston Marathon. Her training race was the Phoenix Half Marathon. She ran 1:14:50.
“Nothing spectacular,” she said.
So when she started passing some of Boston’s elite runners in Monday’s soggy conditions she too was “in complete disbelief.”
After the race, Sellers said the elite runners were supportive. “Kudos to them because everyone worked really hard to get here and you know I kind of feel like an outsider,” Sellers said. “It’s my second marathon and I have no credentials, but they’ve all been so supportive and that was really cool.”
As for her plans going forward, she says she’s not sure.
“Training for another marathon. … I haven’t even thought beyond Boston,” she said. “I’m in shock, too.”
The East Africans who have dominated the professional era of the race had their worst performance in decades: Geoffrey Kirui was the only Kenyan in the top ten for the men’s race; defending champion Edna Kiplagat, who was ninth, helped prevent a shutout in the women’s race.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)