This year’s Boston Marathon was one for the record books: the first American woman winner since the race began offering prize money in 1986; seven American women in the top 10; and some of the most grueling race conditions that caused the slowest winning women’s time in 40 years and an epidemic of elite withdrawals. With temperatures at the start of the event hovering in the mid-30s and winds whipping the racers’ faces, the already difficult Boston course became not just a battleground for who had the most heart, but also who had the best gear.
Those who watched the race live couldn’t ignore that many of the elites seemed ill-prepared for the conditions. Athletes from warmer climates seemed to throw on t-shirts at the last moment, while others opted for huge jackets that ended up acting like sails (in a bad way!). Nike athlete—and pre-race favorite—Shalane Flanagan opted for an oversized running jacket, much like her male teammate and men’s pre-race favorite Geoffrey Kirui, who had his own aerodynamic wardrobe malfunctions.
Meanwhile, eventual women’s winner Desiree Linden likely took her decade-plus of experience running in frigid Michigan winters and chose wisely. Linden wore a form-fitting hooded Brooks jacket (this model, according to Brooks—get it while you can!) and had fewer issues in the blustery wind.
Pro runners are just like us: They make good and bad decisions when it comes to race-day choices (they even have to use the portapotty—see Flanagan’s mid-race pitstop!). But this year’s Boston Marathon results prove that sometimes even with an unlimited choice of the very best gear, experience and common sense still rule the pack from the front to the back.
For tips on putting your best foot forward when race-day conditions turn nasty, check out more from Women’s Running.