2018 Boston Marathon champions Yuki Kawauchi, Des Linden, Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at Fan Fest in Copley Square today, less than 24 hours before the start of the 2019 Boston Marathon. For many in attendance it was their first time seeing the winners up close, and it was a particular treat to hear Kawauchi greet fans in English before switching to an interpreter when more detailed answers were called for.
When moderator Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots (who ran the Boston Marathon in 2012 and will run again this year) asked him about his favourite pre-race dinner, Kawauchi responded, “Japanese curry.” Just before the race, he likes to warm up by doing a few stretches while listening to a female Japanese pop-metal group called Babymetal.
McFadden likes to “fast braid” her hair, and sticks to a bland diet the day before a race, including lots of rice. Linden got laughs for admonishing the crowd that “Japanese curry is not the secret for you,” and reminded us about not trying new things the night before race day, lest we find ourselves spending time in the porta potties along the course.
And when Bruschi asked the champs how they get through those inevitable tough spots that even elite athletes have to deal with at some point in every marathon, Linden said that when she gets to mile 20, she dedicates it to her husband, Ryan Linden, “who puts up with my hangry moods.” Mile 21 is for her agent, Josh Cox, who she says takes care of the details and is always making sure she’s comfortable. “I like to dedicate these miles to the people that matter,” Linden said. “You want to push until it hurts, and then push a little further. Because running is not a team sport, but it really is.”
On a more serious note, Linden talked about how fortunate we are as runners. She mentioned her friend Gabe Grunewald, the talented middle-distance runner who, at 32, has been fighting a rare form of cancer for 10 years, and isn’t currently able to train.
All four returning champions are racing tomorrow, and took the time to wish their fellow runners well.
The updated forecast is for steady rain, possible thunderstorms and 37 kph winds from the southwest, but with temperatures significantly higher than last year (between 5 and 20 C). The B.A.A. has implemented some weather-related contingency plans, including better shelter and flooring in the holding area in Hopkinton.