Events

Top American Desi Linden Poised To Win The Boston Marathon This Year

The top American contender at this year's Boston Marathon is realistic and ready to take her fifth attempt at the race.

Desi Linden and brewer Megan Parisi hang out at Sam Adams. Photo: Courtesy of Sam Adams

It’s not every day you get to share a post-run brew with an elite runner, especially a top contender for the Boston Marathon. But for a lucky group, that’s exactly what happened recently at Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.

Desiree Linden, a leading American contender for the Boston Marathon this year, shared race tips and marathon memories with an enthusiastic audience after a 2.62-mile fun run to the brewery on Tuesday night—capped off with toasts from Sam Adams’ commemorative Boston 26.2 Brew.

Desi Linden toasts to Sam Adams himself. Photo: Courtesy of Sam Adams

“Don’t go out too hard,” advised Linden on how to race the storied marathon. She finished just two seconds behind winner Caroline Kilel of Kenya in 2011. “There’s a picture of the 2011 edition, at the 15K mark, there’s a big pack of women. Way in the back, there’s a little tiny dot that let the pack go. That was me. I finished second. Trust your training.”

A two-time Olympian, Linden is training for her fifth Boston Marathon. She ran 18 miles on the historic course on Monday, 14 miles on Tuesday and scheduled 20 for Wednesday. The 121st edition of the oldest continuous marathon will take place on April 17.

On Tuesday evening, with some stubborn New England snow still on the ground, Linden met up with her “new running buddies” at the marathon finish line and posed for photos with the group—who included Boston Marathon veterans and first-timers alike, as well as a cardboard cutout of Sam Adams himself. Then it was time for a sunset fun run across the streets of Copley Square en route to the brewery.

Desi Linden leads the group of Boston Marathon runners out for the 2.62-mile run to the brewery. Photo: Courtesy of Sam Adams

Afterward, the group toasted Linden with Samuel Adams’ 26.2 Brew—a Gose-style beer featuring salt and coriander, first brewed in partnership with the Boston Athletic Association in 2012. Following the tragic bombings in 2013, Samuel Adams donated profits from 26.2 Brew sales to the Greg Hill Foundation, which supports marathon bombing survivors and their families, and they will also donate to the charity this year.

Linden and Sam Adams brewer Megan Parisi, who joined in Tuesday’s run, fielded questions from the live audience and remote viewers during a Facebook Live session.

“I ran my first-ever marathon and first Boston last year with the Sam Adams Brew Crew,” Parisi said. “One year before that, it wasn’t even on my radar. I pushed myself. I had an opportunity here. When else would I have the chance? I’m not an elite runner like Des, but everything they say is true.”

Parisi also mentioned the race volunteers and “people cheering you on harder and harder, still cheering, an amazing feeling.”

Questions for Linden ranged from her training diet to her prospects on Patriots’ Day.

“I wish I had a very straight answer” she said to the diet question. “I’m pretty flexible. I go with how I feel. It varies. Vegetables, protein, fruit.” She added, “Sometimes I have a craving for unhealthy things.”

For instance, on a “big mileage day,” she celebrated with a beer and a hot dog with sauerkraut, saying, “That’s okay.”

While the discussion was lighthearted at times, Linden was still clearly focused for April 17.

“I haven’t looked past Marathon Monday,” she said. “I think about it every day. I bring a winning attitude every day. I picture being a winner every day.”

She’s ready to win this thing! Photo: Courtesy of Sam Adams

However, she is also aware of her competitors. In an interview with Women’s Running, she specifically named Edna Kiplagat of Kenya.

“She’s a multiple-time world champion,” Linden said. “She’ll be great,” adding, “obviously any former champion is going to be tough to beat.” If Linden does not break the tape this year, “I’ll regroup and sort that out. I’m not thinking about anything long-term.”

It has been quite a journey for Linden leading up to race day. She finished second in the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon last year and seventh in the Olympic marathon at Rio de Janeiro. So the running community can be assured that Linden will put forth another Olympic-style effort for the Boston Marathon.

“It’s the greatest finish in the world,” she said. “You turn the corner and the crowds are going crazy. The line at the end is a feeling unlike everything else.”