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Defending champions to return for 2019 Boston Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi and Desiree Linden overcame the elements to win their 2018 Boston Marathon divisions.
Yuki Kawauchi and Desiree Linden overcame the elements to win their 2018 Boston Marathon divisions.(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff file)

Defending Boston Marathon champions Desiree Linden and Yuki Kawauchi, as well as wheelchair champions Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug, will be back for the 123rd running of the race, the Boston Athletic Association announced Monday. The 2019 marathon will be held on April 15.

Linden, a two-time Olympian, became the first American to win the women’s race in 33 years. She also has placed seventh at the 2016 Olympic marathon, 10th at the 2009 World Championships marathon, second at the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Trials marathon, and second in the 10,000 meters at the 2015 Pan American Games.

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“In 2007, I ran my first Boston Marathon; I absolutely fell in love with the event, the course, the city, all of it,” Linden said in a statement. “I thought I had every experience imaginable racing in Boston, but in 2019 I’m thrilled and proud to have another first as I’ll start the race as the defending Boston Marathon Champion.”

Kawauchi weathered brutal conditions to become the first Japanese winner since 1987. He holds world records for running the most sub-2:12 marathons (26), sub-2:13 (42), sub-2:14 (50), sub-2:15 (57), sub-2:16 (67), sub-2:17 (92), sub-2:18 (77), sub-2:19 (81), and sub-2:20 (83).

“I am pleased to be able to take part in the Boston Marathon again as the returning champion,” Kawauchi said in a statement. “My victory in Boston was a moment in my marathon life that I will never forget. I look forward to meeting all my fellow runners in Boston and running together with them.”

Women’s wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden during the ceremony at the finish line in 2018.
Women’s wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden during the ceremony at the finish line in 2018. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

McFadden returns after winning five of the last six women’s wheelchair crowns in Boston. She won the 2018 race by 15 minutes and 22 seconds, finishing in 2:04:39. McFadden is a 17-time Paralympic medalist on the track and competed in the 2014 Winter Games, earning a silver medal in cross-country skiing.

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“I love coming to Boston,” McFadden said in a statement. “It will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the course and the community support. The course is very technical and the elite women’s division continues to grow and get better every year.”

2018 men’s wheelchair winner Marcel Hug.
2018 men’s wheelchair winner Marcel Hug.(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Hug is one of only three men in history to have won four consecutive Boston titles.

“It means a lot to me to come back to Boston next year to this prestigious and historic marathon,” Hug said in a statement. “The best athletes from all over the world will be at the start line. I am the defending champion there; this makes it even more special.”


Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.