Roundup and Roundtable: April 17, 2018 – Boston Marathon ‘I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying’ Edition

Des Linden ©2017 Kyle Gorjanc for Salty Running

It’s a very Salty special edition of the Roundup and Roundtable, BOSTON MARATHON style! Where do we begin???

Des. We believed. It was hard to have a “favorite” going into this race but man, we’ve got a lot of Salty love for her. This time last year, we published “That Desiree Linden, She’s Second to None.” And now — finally — she’s first. Winning Boston is her first marathon win. Ever. 

“She’s the first to admit that it’s strange how often her race results in a second place finish. She was second in her breakout 2008 U.S.A. Half Marathon Championship in Houston, at the 2011 Naples Half Marathon, at the 2011 Boston Marathon, at the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon, at the 2013 U.S.A. Half Marathon Championship in Duluth, at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon, and at the 2016 U.S.A. Half Marathon Championship in Columbus. For all her achievements, she’s never won a National Championship or a major marathon, but she’d sure love to. Her desire to be a champion isn’t about asserting her dominance over her competitors, though. It’s the next frontier in Des’s pursuit of her own excellence. Because she hasn’t quite found it yet, that’s what keeps it fun.”

Hang on. Is it dusty in here or what?

One of the first newsworthy moments of the women’s elite race was when Shalane beelined for a portajohn in the early miles. She said something to Des, and darted off to the side. Des drifted off the back of the pack, giving Shalane a boost back up. For a few minutes, the pack strung out. Then Des and Shalane rolled back up on them.


“Honestly, at mile 2-3-4, I didn’t even feel like I was going to make it to the finish,” Des said after the race. “I told (Shalane) during the race, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help you out, let me know, because I might just drop out.’ When you work together, you never know what’s going to happen. Helping her helped me and I kinda got my legs back from there.”

Oh so at mile 2 you thought you were going to drop out and then you went on to win? I mean, I believe in the “don’t trust the first 10 minutes of any run” rule, but that’s a little extreme.

And then she went hunting. At 35k, Des took the lead and surged ahead — going on to win by 4 minutes.

Husband Ryan Linden was waiting at the finish, and if you weren’t crying already, you were once they showed him. “Better than any first look wedding photo I’ve ever seen,” one of my friends posted.

Des did not let up. She pressed the entire way, and didn’t even look like she was happy about the fact she was about to win until the final steps.

And then — things got extra crazy. With all the back-and-forth tv coverage, most of us didn’t know what was going on behind Des. Lo and behold, a woman comes across the finish line in an un-sponsored non-pro tank, plain cap, plain armbands … a completely regular looking runner.

Collectively, we all went, “Huh?”

Thanks to the Boston Globe, now we know. Sarah Sellers is a 26-year-old full-time nurse working in anesthesiology at Banner Health Center in Arizona. It was her second marathon ever (not super-surprising given her age). She told the Globe she didn’t know she was in second.

Pause. American women go 1-2 at the Boston Marathon?!?!? That’s a hell of a day.


Rachel Hyland, fourth in 2:44:29. Nicole Demercurio, fifth in 2:45:52. Shalane Flanagan, sixth in 2:46:31. Kimi Reed, seventh in 2:46:47. Joanna Thompson, 10th in 2:48:31. Molly Huddle, 13th in 2:50:28.

Seven of the top 10 spots.

This feels familiar.

In November, I wrote:

“FIVE AMERICAN WOMEN in the top 10 of the New York City Marathon.”

Started at the bottom, now we here.

Everything else you need to know:

  • First American woman to win since 1985; first 1-2 finish by American women since 1979.
  • Only top 4 were Olympic Trials qualifying times — and they were B standards
  • Kellyn Taylor DNF’d, hypothermia.
  • Deena Kastor DNF’d, not sure cause, but she’s okay.
  • Jordan Hasay DNS’d, stress reaction
  • Shalane like literally handed the baton to Des in November
  • Canadian Krista Duchene was third in 2:44:20. P.S. She’s 41.
  • The elite women’s field started at 9:30 ahead of the elite men and all of wave 1. Jessica Chichester started with wave 1 and ran a time fast enough for fifth female. This presents an interesting conundrum. What we know for sure is she’s not eligible for prize money — it is very clear that you must be part of the elite women’s start to win money. And okay, so she’s fifth by chip time, but way different by gun time. “It’s just weird because what place does she say she finished?” asked pro runner Esther Atkins on Twitter. “I guess I’d say I won the mass race!”
  • PIMENTO set a PR! 3:13:54. Congrats, Pim!
To everyone who ran today — congratulations!

Today’s roundtable: Tell us your Boston 2018 stories! Did you run? IF SO TELL ALL NOW. Did you watch? What was your favorite moment?

Started running in my early 20s and ended up running my first marathon 15 months later. Managed to break 3 hours in my 12th marathon. Pilates instructor passionate about the importance of your powerhouse in running and the mind/body connection. One husband, zero kids, mama to one Australian Shepherd.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Rules are rules but it seems really crappy that the Chinchester girl gets no prize money! how was she to know that she’d run that fast, she took 5th at Boston, it’s in the results, numbers don’t lie. Whatever the reasoning is, it is what it is. but it was the most amazing race to watch and Desi’s focus was laser like. She didn’t care about what was going on anywhere around her. she was like a bullet ready to hit the bulls eye on the target. Congratulations to each and every runner that went out there and fought with fortitude and got to the finish.

    1. It was intense. When the rain was coming down in pounding sheets time after time it was laughable. It was easy to cramp up from the cold and of course on a hilly course like Boston that is likely to happen. However, most people I know gritted it out hard. I PRed, my training partner PRed, we were 5-10 mins off what we wanted. I think the motivation to finish and not stop running if you could help it was a factor. The worst parts were probably the village and the finish. Waiting to pick up a checked bag and get to where you could get warm was tough.

      1. My experience was similar Meg! I had a PR of about 30 seconds and ran with a friend who PR’d by about 5 minutes, but I think in better conditions (e.g. cold without rain or rain without cold) we could have run a few minutes faster. My first 2 km were by far my slowest because I was so stiff and frozen.

  2. Loved watching Des win it, her focus was so intense. I’ve been pulling for her for the last couple of years, and she’s finally done it. She’s the nicest athlete and tough as nails…and in this race she showed every bit of that.

  3. It’s the Boston Marathon so even on the worst running day ever, it’s a great day. But I can say that I have never been happier to have a race be over than yesterday. The weather was so bad for the later waves that they got rid of the wave/corral start and just told everyone to cross the start line whenever they were ready… made for a very chaotic and crowded start…. the rain and wind just got worse and worse with every step. I always say I’d take rain over heat any day but yesterday changed my mind. I’m glad things were relatively better for the elites, watching the footage of Desi’s win was the best part of the whole experience. Regarding the 5th place winner, I think she was 5th place only based on chip time right? I think prize money only goes by gun time so can’t argue with that.

  4. I was SO inspired by all of the non-professional women who took top spots! Simply amazing!

    I also love Desi (who doesn’t!?) and was so happy to see her win.

    While I completely understand and support the rule of prize money going by gun time, and women needing to be on the elite start to be eligible for it (5th place had the benefit of running with and around men, while the other women didn’t), I’d sure like to see Chichester receive a bonus in this unique situation.

  5. Loved seeing Desi win it. Watched with tears in my eyes. I ran Boston the year she came in second by 2 seconds. What a great vindication for her!