Kawauchi and Linden record shock wins in Boston Marathon


BOSTON: Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi and America’s Desiree Linden ended long droughts for their countries with stunning victories in a wet and windy Boston Marathon on Monday.

Kawauchi ran down defending champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya to win in two hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds. He is the first Japanese man to win the event since 1987.

Linden, winning her first marathon, ended 33 years of frustration for American women to prevail in 2:39.54 as runners, many clad in rain tops, endured heavy rain and temperatures in the 40s (4C).

An American woman had not won the historic race since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.

The 31-year-old Kawauchi, known as the citizen runner because he also has a full-time job, overtook Kirui in the closing mile after the Kenyan appeared to have the race in hand, leading by more than a minute at times.

But the Japanese runner, who has competed in more than 80 marathons and led in the early stages of the race, always stayed in contention before taking control around the 25-mile mark.

“I never gave up,” Kawauchi, who became the first Japanese runner to win the Boston race since Toshihiko Seko, told reporters.

“I knew he was up there. I could see him. I ran my own race and I ran him down.”

Regarding the weather, he added: “For me, these are the best conditions possible,” Kawauchi quipped after the race.

Kirui took second place in 2:18.23 with American Shadrack Biwott third in 2:18:35.

U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp, the 2017 Boston runner-up, did not finish.

Linden, 34, surged past Kenya’s Gladys Chesir at 35km and pulled steadily away,

“I’m thrilled to be here and get it done,” Linden, who had finished second in 2011 and fourth last year, told reporters.

“I love this city and this course,” she said of the race where she made her marathon debut.


More than 30,000 runners entered the marathon, which was run under tight security on the fifth anniversary of the 2013 bombing at the race that killed three people and injured hundreds more.

About an hour into the race Linden had lost precious seconds when she slowed and waited for New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan, who had taken a toilet break, to catch up with her. Linden said the act of kindness actually helped her.

“At mile two, three, four, I didn’t feel like I was going to make it to the finish line,” the American said. “I told her anything I can do to help you let me know because I might drop out.

“Helping her helped me, and I kind of got my legs back from there.”

Flanagan, who grew up watching the race, placed seventh.

Sara Sellers finished second to Linden, more than four minutes adrift on 2:44.04, as U.S. women took seven of the top 10 places.

Canada’s Krista Duchene claimed third in 2:44.20 with defending champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya fading to ninth.

The showing was the worst in years for African runners who have dominated the race. Only Kirui and Kiplagat were in the top 10

Swiss Marcel Hug won his fourth consecutive wheelchair division, clocking 1:46:26 to beat South African Ernst Van Dyk (1:47:14).

American Tatyana McFadden, who was making her comeback, surged to a dominant victory in the women’s wheelchair race, winning in 2:04:39 over compatriot Susannah Scaroni {2:20:01).

The victory was the fifth in six years for McFadden, who experienced blood clot issues during the 2017 season and finished fourth in Boston.