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Four Women To Know Before Marathon Monday

Meet the four women representing the U.S. on Marathon Monday.

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Clockwise from top left: Shalane Flanagan, Adriana Nelson, Desi Linden, Amy Cragg

Four speedy women, three of which have raced in Boston previously, will represent the American women’s elite field on Monday’s Boston Marathon. Here’s some elite athlete 101 when it comes to who will be racing for the U.S. of A on Patriots’ Day:

Who They Are:

Why They Are Relevant:

Shalane is a hometown favorite who ran to win last year and finished seventh, running the fastest time ever in Boston by an American woman.

Desi almost won Boston in 2011, finishing two seconds behind the winner—and she says she’s in the same shape this year as she was four years ago.

Amy is running the Boston Marathon for her first time. She has run identical fast times at the 2011 LA and 2014 Chicago Marathons (2:27:03).

Adriana Nelson was the third American female to cross the line at last year’s Boston Marathon, and she won 2013’s USA Half Marathon Championships.

RELATED: Amy And Desi Ready For Marathon Monday

What They Say:

“I always love the start line because you feel really good, the energy is great. You have all these thousands of people waiting to tear up the course behind you, and I always love it because you feel really appreciative just being on the start line. So that’s one of my favorite moments, the start line is just kind of serene, you’re just collecting your thoughts. It’s just this historic moment right in front of you, history is being written right in front of you.” —Shalane Flanagan on her favorite part of the course

“That’s tough to say, I haven’t checked out the conditions too much. I think you’re going to have a PR-type effort. Shalane’s a 2:21 girl on the Berlin course, so I don’t know what that means here. But I think both of us will have to be at our best. Amy going to have to have a nice jump but I think she’s ready for it and doing the right things. But everyone seems fit and healthy, and that’s a good start.” —Desi Linden on what it will take for an American woman to break the tape

“I’m so excited. It’s just crazy—in New England, everyone just talks about Boston for months beforehand, and so now I’ve been wanting it to be here for the last month. I feel like I’m ready, the only thing that could happen now is something could go wrong. I’m still just ready for it to be here.” —Amy Cragg on first Boston Marathon

“Last year was pretty exciting—lots of emotions. Different stuff too, just remembering what happened [in 2013]. I think I’m more ready this year mentally and emotionally than I was last year.” —Adriana Nelson on what it’s like to run the Boston Marathon

RELATED: These 35 U.S. Women Run Crazy Fast Marathons

How They Are All Similar:

If one of them wins the elite women’s race, they will be the first American woman to break the tape on Boylston Street since 1985, when Lisa Rainsberger did it. Talk about a stellar 30th anniversary race!