HOPKINTON (CBS) – The 2019 Boston Marathon could end up looking a lot like the 2018 race.

The good news – Des Linden has a shot at becoming the first American woman to win back-to-back titles in 48 years.

The bad news – rain is in the forecast Monday, just like last year, when runners were drenched in one of the wettest Boston Marathons in recent memory. However, it will be much warmer and humid this time around and much of the rain should exit Hopkinton by 9 a.m. There is also the possibility of lightning before the race. After that, the overcast clouds could thin and break to allow some sunshine between passing clouds.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Local favorite Shalane Flanagan is not running this year. The four-time Boston Marathon elite runner and Marblehead native will be part of the WBZ-TV marathon broadcast team.

9 FORMER CHAMPIONS

Nine former champions will be running Monday.

Read: Get To Know The Elite Runners

The returning men’s champs are:

2018: Yuki Kawauchi of Japan 
2017: Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya
2016: Lemi Berhanu of Ethiopia
2015 and 2013: Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia
2012: Wesley Korir of Kenya

The returning women’s winners are:

2018: Des Linden of the U.S.
2017: Edna Kiplagat of Kenya
2015: Caroline Rotich of Kenya
2012: Sharon Cherop of Kenya

Last year’s surprise runner-up will be back to run as well. Joining Linden on the 2019 U.S. Elite Team are Sarah Sellers, who powered through the rain to place second in 2018, and Jordan Hasay, who was third at Boston in 2017 when she set the fastest American debut of all time.

On the men’s side, Shadrack Biwott returns after finishing third and fourth in his last two turns in Boston. He is joined by a field that includes tons of Olympic success, including Jared Ward, who finished sixth at the 2016 Olympic Marathon, three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, the third fastest U.S. marathoner of all time, and four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman.

WHAT’S NEW?

There are a few changes to this year’s race. There is no separate start for the mobility impaired. They will now start with their time-appropriate wave-corral.

Also new in 2019, the first wave of runners will now start at 10:02 a.m., giving the elite men their own start, just as the elite women have. The elite runners are the only ones eligible for prize money.

Here are the official start times:

Men’s wheelchair 9:02 a.m.
Women’s wheelchair 9:04
Handcycles/duos 9:25
Elite women 9:32
Elite men 10:00
Wave 1 10:02
Wave 2 10:25
Wave 3 10:50
Wave 4 Follows Wave 3

 

WHO TO WATCH

Des Linden is attempting to become first American woman to finish first two years in a row since Sara Mae Berman back in 1971.

Yuki Kawauchi and Desi Linden after winning the 2018 Boston Marathon. (WBZ-TV)

Yuki Kawauchi, the first Japanese man to win Boston since 1987, is back to defend his title and his mother is also running. Mika Kawauchi, 54, will be in wave four.

Defending women’s wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden of Maryland will be looking for her sixth Boston title.

Joan Benoit Samuelson is also back. She’s running to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her historic first win.

“My goal is to run within 40 minutes of my time 40 years ago, which would be sub-3:15:35,” she said last month. “I might as well celebrate during an anniversary year, while I’m still able!”

Five years after his historic Boston Marathon victory, Meb Keflezighi will be back as this year’s Grand Marshal. He will once again lead the field over the 26.2-mile course, but this time riding in an SUV.

CELEBRITY RUNNERS

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson will be running his first marathon Monday, two days after a NASCAR race in Richmond, Virginia.

Actors Jared and Genevieve Padalecki, the husband and wife who star in the show Supernatural, are running to raise money for Dream Big! which provides opportunities for young girls to play sports.

Former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi will be running for his own team, Tedy’s Team, which raises awareness of stroke and heart disease and supports survivors.

And WBZ-TV will have two runners in this year’s race – chief meteorologist Eric Fisher and anchor-reporter Katie Brace.

FOLLOWING RUNNERS

Be prepared for the crowds. More than half a million spectators will line the course Monday.

The Boston Athletic Association has developed a chart for optimal viewing times if you want to see one of the waves coming by the many viewing spots along the course.

Read: Mile-by-Mile Guide

More than 30,000 people will be running the 2019 Boston Marathon, thousands of them for local charities, which raised $36.6 million in last year’s race.

WEATHER FORECAST

Weather could be a factor again Monday. Runners and spectators can expect rain early on and wind, but warmer temperatures this year.

Boston Marathon 2019 Forecast

Read: Roads Closed For 2019 Boston Marathon

For more information on the 2019 Boston Marathon, visit the B.A.A. web site.

WBZ-TV is the exclusive local broadcaster of the Boston Marathon. Pre-race coverage begins at 7 a.m. followed by race coverage at 9 a.m. WBZ-TV’s coverage will be streaming on CBSBoston.com beginning at 9 a.m. The stream is limited to New England.

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