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Desiree Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon champion and two-time Olympian, had made her intentions for the 50K distance well known over the past few weeks: She intended to better the standing world’s best time of 3:07:20, and hopefully become the first woman to break the 3 hour barrier for the 50K.
Race day began as a cold, clear, and beautiful morning in early April. The race was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on a flat, picturesque bike path just outside of Eugene, Oregon. With race officials present to certify the course and the potential record, Linden did her best to stay warm as she went through the necessary pre-race obligations.
With the clock ticking down to race time, Linden prepared herself to run the farthest distance she had ever raced.
Despite the cold and the nerves, Linden was all smiles as she warmed up.
The event was also an opportunity to do some final testing on a new Brooks prototype road running shoe Linden had worked closely with the brand to develop—the Hyperion Elite 3.
As the sun rose, Linden walked to the start, ready to face the unknown.
With the race underway, Linden settled in along side her pacer, Charlie Lawson.
To break the existing record Linden needed to run sub-six minutes per mile consistently. While the record was her initial goal, the real goal was breaking three-hour mark, requiring a 5:45 pace.
Despite the blistering pace, the miles spun by without much drama.
The main disruption to the consistent miles were aid stations providing nutrition and hydration every three miles.
Working past the marathon mark Linden never showed any signs of fatigue, approaching the final turnaround looking strong.
Squeaking in under the three-hour mark, Linden ran a 2:59:54, setting a new world best and becoming the first woman to run sub-three hours for the 50K.
Celebrations were in order, of course.
The end of a good day.