Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon for 33 years and Yuki Kawauchi ended a long wait for a Japanese champion in the men’s race in dismal conditions on Monday.
Linden cruised down Boylston Street all alone in a chilly downpour, claiming her first major title in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds.
Minutes later, Kawauchi did the same, storming past defending champion Geoffrey Kirui late in the race for his first major marathon win in an unofficial time of 2:15:54. American Shadrack Biwott was third, nearly four minutes back.
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Just under 30,000 runners set off from Hopkinton in miserable weather, braving temperatures in the 40s and rain that never let up. The forecast was sufficiently dire that the Boston Red Sox called off their traditional Patriots Day morning game at Fenway Park a day earlier.
Linden, 34, has had success in Boston before, finishing second in 2011 and fourth in 2015 and 2017, but bettered that to become the first American woman to win since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.
Linden was part of the lead pack for the bulk of the race, hanging 20 to 30 seconds behind leader Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia before catching her around the 22-mile mark along with Gladys Chesir of Kenya. But the two-time US Olympian kept the pedal down and quickly separated herself from Chesir.
The 31-year-old is known for his prolific marathon schedule and had won numerous races before, mostly in Asia, but this was his first win at one of the sport's marquee races. He is the first Japanese winner since Toshihiko Seko in 1987.
Earlier on Monday, Marcel Hug won the men's wheelchair race for the fourth consecutive year, while Tatyana McFadden bounced back from last year's fourth-place finish to win her fifth Boston title.