To her surprise, she went on to rank first in the women's race, becoming the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years. In a post-race interview, Linden shared that she had told Flanagan, "I might drop out today, if you need something, some help or whatever, let me know". "I'm thrilled. It's supposed to be hard".
"For me, these are the best conditions possible", Kawauchi said after the race.
Although her winning time of 2 hours, 39 minutes and 54 seconds was the slowest winning time since 1978, Linden had to beat out the field in very tough conditions that included cold temperatures and heavy rain throughout. Although the marathon was won by Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi (2:10:46), Americans Shadrack Biwott (2:18:35) and Tyler Pennel (2:19:52) ranked in third and fourth, respectively.
We saw their friendship play out in real time at the 2018 Boston Marathon.
She had also dropped back to help teammate Shalane Flanagan, waiting for her to finish a bathroom break.
Linden saw Flanagan making an emergency break (the athlete darted into a portable toilet) and made a decision to slow down and make sure her friend and competitor was alright.
In the 2011 Boston Marathon, Linden came in second, just two seconds behind victor Caroline Kilel.
"Honestly I just felt miserable and sometimes when you pick it up, you forget how you're feeling", said Linden, a 34-year-old from MI.
Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia held the lead for the much of the first 20 miles, but Chesir pulled even with her and took the lead briefly in the 21st mile around Boston College.
Before Linden, the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon was Lisa Rainsberger in 1985. Fellow American Sarah Sellers crossed the finish line in second place.