Sports

The Boston Marathon's Brutal Conditions Resulted In Slow Times But Historic Wins

by Penn Collins

April 17, 2018
Yuki Kawauchi approaches the 24-mile marker of the 2018 Boston Marathon. He won the race with a time of 2:15:58. Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images.

Sports fans generally think of headwinds as a phenomenon that affects cyclists and race cars, but not humans moving on their own two feet. Monday, April 16, brought less-than-optimal conditions at the Boston Marathon, and proved that running into the wind, coupled with a cold, rainy course, can wreak havoc on the most elite marathoner’s times. 

The one upside to competing in the dreary race is that the conditions served as a great equalizer, opening the field of contenders up far more than anyone has witnessed in recent years. The respective men’s and women’s winning times, (2:15:58 and 2:39:54) were the slowest the annual event has seen in years. While the times were slow, the conditions gave us two unlikely winners in a sport that is often dominated by the same ruling class. 

The men’s winner, Yuki Kawauchi from Japan, has now ran a staggering 77 marathons at under 2:20. His success in the adverse conditions of New England was proven in January when he ran an unreal 2:18:59 marathon in Marshfield, Massachusetts, in temperatures dipping below -5 degrees, distinguishing himself as the only (yes) finisher in the race. 

The outlook for the race was bleak by conventional standards but seemed optimal for Kawauchi’s brand of performance. 

Even Kawauchi himself credited the cold, rainy conditions for his performance. 

Among the women runners, Desiree Linden was an even more unlikely champ, not only becoming the first American woman to win in 33 years, but doing so by a massive margin of more than four minutes. That gap is made all the more impressive by her show of solidarity in waiting for fellow American runner Shalane Flanagan during her now-famous 13-second bathroom break

Following her win, Linden explained that she slowed her pace to wait for Flanagan because she felt she would lose ground anyway and possibly even withdraw from the race. Naturally, a Twitter user offered a humorous explanation for the show of solidarity. 

That may be the case, but they usually don’t do so in the course of making history in the world’s most famous road race. 

Share image via Scott Eisen/Getty Images. 

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