One of the defining factors for the elite runners in the 2018 Boston Marathon was weather. Amid the cold rain and driving headwind, many of the traditional race favorites struggled to complete the 26.2-mile course with their usual tempo.
Ultimately, all of the winners’ times were far slower than usual. Desiree Linden, who became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985, won with a time of 2:39:54, the slowest by a women’s champion since 1978. Linden, along with fellow champions like wheelchair winners Marcel Hug and Tatyana McFadden and men’s race winner Yuki Kawauchi, described how the weather affected their race.
“It was really tough today I knew that my competition would start really, really fast and I just kept a consistent pace,” McFadden said afterward. She explained that part of her strategy specifically revolved around wearing two coats and hand-warmers.
Hug, who won his fourth straight men’s wheelchair race, immediately went into the medical tent after crossing the finish line:
Completing the #BostonMarathon in today?s weather seems absolutely miserable. Men?s push rim winner Marcel Hug: ?I never got warm. My body was shaking.?— Anthony Gulizia (@AnthonyGulizia) April 16, 2018
Linden offered a laconic description of her race in an interview at the finish line.
“I’m thrilled, I’m exhausted, I left it all out there, and I’m ready to warm up,” Linden said. Asked about the weather specifically, she added, “I think that’s why I have success here, because I can kind of tough it out through everything.”
“I kind of just wanted to get done and get a coffee and get some breakfast,” Linden said of her finishing kick.
The only champion who seemed to relish the conditions was Japan’s Kawauchi.
"For me, these are the best conditions possible," Yuki Kawauchi quipped after the race.— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
“Im freezing cold right now, but when I was running these are the best conditions I could have run in,” said Kawauchi at the finish line. “It was an enormous help. It gave me a lot of help to run in this cold rain.”