Linden became the first American women to win the race since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach (2:34.06) in 1985. In an interview after the race, Linden said she wasn't feeling well, considered dropping out mid-race and chose to instead try to help Flanagan, a MA native who was vying for a Boston title.
"I nearly feel like I have to pretend like I don't want to win it in order to do well", she said. Linden, who was the runner-up at the 2011 Boston Marathon with a personal-best time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds, said she felt like she was struggling to keep up with the leaders. "I was just running hard as I could and if I had known I had that gap I would have slowed down and been caught".
Or, more simply, she had to take a bathroom break.
"Yeah, I'm in shock about that", she said. It was a display of sportsmanship that impressed many watching the race.
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"I love this city, I love this race, I love this course", Linden told NBC.
Marcel Hug of Switzerland earned his fifth wheelchair victory, and American Tatyana McFadden won the women's wheelchair race for the fifth time, pushing though puddles that sent the spray from their wheels into their eyes.
Shalane Flanagan competes at the 122nd Boston Marathon.
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Lisa Larsen Weidenbach's 1985 victory was the last for an American woman - before the race began offering prize money that lured the top worldwide competitors to the world's oldest and most prestigious annual marathon. American Sarah Sellers was a distant second in 2:44:04 with Canada's Krista Duchene third, another 16 seconds adrift. In November 2017, Flanagan won the TCS New York City Marathon - similarly becoming the first American woman to do so since 1977.
US athletes fared equally well in the men's race, notes the Washington Post.
The men's result was - if this is possible - even more unexpected as Japan's Yuki Kawauchi, running his 4th marathon of the year, defeated all comers to win in 2:15:54 after defending champion Geoffrey Kirui let a massive lead slip away over the final miles.
At the end of the day, American men managed to snatch six of the Top 10 positions, with Andrew Bumbalough (2:19:52) coming in fifth, Scott Smith (2:21:47) finishing sixth, Elkanah Kibet (2:23:37) ranking eighth, and Daniel Vassallo (2:27:50) finishing last in the Top 10.
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