By Karen Mitchell and Clay Shaw
Boston, Massachusetts, April 12, 2019–Today’s Boston Marathon press conference featured the defending champs Desi Linden and Yuki Kawauchi, and wheelchair champs Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug. They were given their ceremonial #1 bibs and their real-deal name bibs. The entire John Hancock Elite Field was on hand for interviews and photos afterwards.
Many of the athletes expressed a readiness no matter what weather happens on Monday.
A stellar field is on hand for a great 123rd Boston Marathon. A strong contingent of top 2018 finishers, a strong USA field, and the usual strong Ethiopian and Kenyan groups.
Read on for interesting interviews with the athletes, sometimes funny, and their thoughts about their training and Monday’s race.
DESIREE LINDEN– is the 2018 Boston champion and back to defend her title. She won last year in hard rain, wind, and near freezing temperatures. She was the first American woman to win Boston in 33 years, she’s a two-time Olympian, and one of the fastest American marathoners of all time.
From Press Notes: “Being a champion is amazing,” says Linden. “Being a Boston Marathon Champion has been life changing.” Beyond her career she enjoys traveling and writing and is in her words “an espresso addict, a music junkie. and a book nerd.” She and her husband are also co-owners of Linden & True Coffee.
JARED WARD–Karen Mitchell revisited something he’d talked about after the NYC Half Marathon. He and his wife had their fourth child at the end of January, and it was very helpful for his wife if he could take the other kids (7, 4, and 2 yrs old) downstairs and keep an eye on them while he trained on a treadmill. He’s been running about 40 miles a week that way. (KM had been wondering how it was that the children would be sufficiently entertained while he trained.) The answer? They had bought some gymnastics equipment for Christmas and put it downstairs right next to the treadmill. While the kids were playing, he was watching them swing on the bar and hollering at them not to hit each other. This was working out well, but unfortunately, his treadmill broke, as he ran it into the ground in weeks.
He has clear goals for Monday. If the weather is good, he’d love to run a 2:09, which he’s been chasing for a few years. He’d like to notch the Olympic standard, and would love to finish in the top 10. Finally, he has a longstanding goal to finish in the top three in a major marathon.
YUKI KAWAUCHI AND KRISTA DUCHENE– Krista Duchene’s goals for Monday: “I just hope to run strong and wait for the hills, and that’s when I’ll mentally dig and hope the weather is the same as last year.” She smiles. (Krista finished 3rd in last year’s running.) She says the weather allowed her to use her strength over her speed, which she may not have as compared to the others. It allows her to be smart and wait for a good finish when others may not like the conditions.
Yuki is nodding in agreement as Krista is saying this. He is also hoping for rain. And Krista chimes in that they both like that type of weather.
JORDAN HASAY–says her training was really good. It was a shorter build up because she was coming off injuries. She feels fresh, her long runs went great, and she feels healthy, so it’s all pointing in the right direction. She wants to run the best marathon she can run, and it is an honor to be here. She thinks the weather will be OK as long as it doesn’t get too cold.
KM told her she remembered Jordan running national cross country and wondered how her career has been going since, in her opinion. Jordan says she didn’t have the success that she wanted on the track and this all worked out for the best, because she moved up to the marathon pretty early. She likes the marathon and has never had a bad one. She felt bad to miss last year’s Boston due to injuries, but feels good about where she is now and how her training has been, and it makes her excited and grateful to be here this year.
SHADRACK BIWOTT–His training has gone very well and he’s excited to be in Boston. He’s been healthy, has had no setbacks, and he’s ready to go. His team trains in Michigan, but with the cold weather there, they have been training near Orlando. This is an area of Florida that has great hills to train on and they have a 10-mile course that is really hilly and is “fantastic for training.”
To get ready he’s been doing 140-mile weeks. They do long speed work, such as 2, 3, and 4-mile repeats with shorter intervals sometimes.
While he doesn’t like running in rain, he isn’t concerned, as everyone will run in the rain. And “as long as it isn’t like last year, life is good.”
He’s never had a time goal in any marathon he’s run. If he can race well, the time will take care of itself.
SCOTT FAUBLE–He’s not looking ahead to next year. The 18-20 weeks of hard training have been for Boston. He’s going to run hard, his training is there, and then worry about what he’ll do next.
SARAH SELLERS —She’s excited to be here. She hopes she’ll have a good race and meet her goals, but a top goal is to not let any of the stress take away from the experience.
ELKANAH KIBET–He says this is a very different race. He wants to do better this year; last year was tough. (He finished 8th last year.) Last year the weather was so bad that he couldn’t even see the course. He doesn’t have a time goal. He says you can never do that with Boston, because you don’t know what will unfold. He wants to run the race and do his best this time.
FIONNUALA MCCORMICK–“As an Irish athlete, it is important for me to run Boston, as there is a connection between Ireland and the city of Boston as well as with the race itself.” Her favorite workouts are long runs that end at coffee shops. (From Press Notes)
She competed at World Cross Country in Denmark on March 30, finishing 18th, a very good finish. She is the only elite athlete in this year’s Boston field who did the Denmark event.
End Note: Your RG journalists/photographers will follow up with results from Saturday’s 5K and Monday’s marathon. Additional photos from the prerace press conference here.