An American woman has not won the Boston Marathon since 1985.
Desiree Linden, who finished second in 2011, will look to end the home country’s drought at the world’s most famous marathon on Monday. The 33-year-old will be in tough, both from international competition and from fellow Americans.
The defending champion, Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia, is in the 2017 field but she is not the fastest when comparing lifetime bests. Kenya’s Gladys Cherono and Edna Kiplagat have run faster than 2:20; so has Ethiopian and 2014 Boston Marathon champion Buzunesh Deba, who holds the course record at 2:19:59. Kiplagat is a two-time world champion in the marathon. In comparison, Linden has a lifetime best of 2:22:38 though Boston is often a race that is won in a slower time when compared to other flatter big-city marathons. (Get to know more about the top-five women’s elites here.)
Last year, for example, Baysa won Boston in 2:29:19, seven minutes slower than her personal best. Pacing strategies often come into play because of the undulating course and late-race challenges, most famously Heartbreak Hill, which is part of the broader Newton Hills.
If there are westerly winds, however, that could change the dynamic of the race as in 2011 the Boston Marathon produced some of the fastest times in history including a men’s world best (2:03:02) by Geoffrey Mutai. (The course is not record-eligible as it’s net downhill and the start and finish lines are not in close proximity.)
Another interesting name to look out for is American Jordan Hasay, who trains with Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project, the same group as Canadian Cam Levins, Americans Shannon Rowbury and Galen Rupp and Brit Mo Farah. The third-fastest American ever in the half-marathon will be making her marathon debut in Boston. The 25-year-old ran 67:55 for the half-marathon in Prague at the beginning of April though it remains to be seen whether her road success over 21.1K will extend to double that distance.
The winners of the Boston Marathon take home US$150,000 each with prize money trickling down to the 15th-place finishers. The winner of the masters divisions win US$10,000 each.
For Canadian content, watch for Rachel Hannah, the 2015 Pan Am Games bronze medallist, to better her personal best of 2:32:09, which she ran in Houston in 2016. Hannah, 30, is the highest profile Canadian in the field; Eric Gillis, who was 10th at the Olympics, was a late withdrawal from the race after sustaining an Achilles injury.
There are three other Canadian elites in the field in addition to Hannah. They are Shelley Doucet, Lisa Bentley and Christy Lovig, all of who will start in the elite corral. The women’s elite field gets underway at 9:32 a.m. EDT on Monday from Hopkinton, Mass. The finish line is located near Copley Square on Boylston Street in downtown Boston.
Useful Canadian Running content for running the 2017 Boston Marathon
– Complete 2017 Boston Marathon coverage
– Course preview, race-specific tips and suggestions
– Boston Marathon jackets through the years
– A beginner’s guide to America’s greatest race
– Pre-race workout with Rejean Chiasson
– The excitement behind running Boston for the very first time
– Eric Gillis out of the 2017 Boston Marathon
– Pre-race interview with Rachel Hannah
– Michael Bergeron wants to joggle a 3:05 marathon in Boston
– Michael Wardian back to Boston two weeks after running the Barkley Marathons
– Rejean Chiasson is marathon-ready after five-year break
– How to follow the Boston Marathon on Monday