BOSTON (CBS) — All four champions of the 2018 Boston Marathon are returning to defend their crowns in 2019.
Maybe they’ll have better weather this time around.
2018 Boston Marathon champions Desiree Linden and Yuki Kawauchi, as well as wheelchair champions Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug, are returning for the 2019 race, principal sponsor John Hancock and the Boston Athletic Association announced on Monday.
“Last April Des Linden and Yuki Kawauchi, in the most challenging of weather conditions, etched their names in Boston Marathon history with races that served to inspire people around the world,” said Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk. “In the wheelchair division, Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug both returned to their familiar spots on the podium with resounding victories. Along with John Hancock, we are excited to welcome this quartet of champions back to Boston for the 123rd Boston Marathon.”
Linden, a two-time U.S. Olympian, became the first woman to win Boston in 33 years with her victory in 2018.
“John Hancock takes so much pride in assembling their elite field. They bring together world class athletes with different racing strengths who can create a compelling story out on the roads,” Linden said in a release on Monday. “In 2007, I ran my first Boston Marathon; I absolutely fell in love with the event, the course, the city, all of it. I thought I had every experience imaginable racing in Boston, but in 2019 I’m thrilled and proud to have another first as I’ll start the race as the defending Boston Marathon Champion. My 12 years of history in Boston have nothing on the 123 years of the event, but each year has made me love and appreciate it even more, and I can’t imagine racing anywhere else in April.”
Kawauchi battle a talented field and the driving rain in Boston to become the first Japanese winner of the Boston Marathon since 1987.
“I am pleased to be able to take part in the Boston Marathon again as the returning champion,” said Kawauchi. “My victory in Boston was a moment in my marathon life that I will never forget. I look forward to meeting all my fellow runners in Boston and running together with them.”
McFadden returns after winning five of the last six women’s wheelchair crowns in Boston, while Hug beat out 10-time Boston champion Ernst van Dyk to capture his victory in 2018.
“I love coming to Boston,” said McFadden, who won 2018’s race by 15 minutes and 22 seconds. “It will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the course and the community support. The course is very technical and the elite women’s division continues to grow and get better every year.”
“It means a lot to me to come back to Boston next year to this prestigious and historic marathon,” said Hug, a four-time Boston champ. “The best athletes from all over the world will be at the start line. I am the defending champion there; this makes it even more special.”
The 123rd Boston Marathon will take place on Monday, April 15, 2019.