For more than three decades, no American woman won the Boston Marathon.
Heading into last year’s race, Des Linden was one of three runners with a good chance to break that drought. She was 34 years old, a two-time Olympian with an impressive running resume. And she had nearly won the race in 2011, coming up two seconds short after a sprint to the finish.
But she almost didn’t make it to the start of the 2018 Boston Marathon because of something that happened 10 months earlier, in July 2017, in a race on the other side of the world.
It was the kind of race day that runners dream about. Beautiful weather. Flat course. Enthusiastic crowds. Perfect conditions for fast times.
That’s why, standing at the start of the 2017 Gold Coast Half Marathon in Australia, Des Linden told herself, “I’m going to knock it out of the park.”
But she didn’t. Not even close.
“In the first couple of miles, it was like, ‘I feel so sluggish. I feel so slow, just so lethargic,’ ” Linden remembers. “And then the motivation was just like, ‘What’s the point? Why do I care so much? Like, really, if I win this half marathon, [will it] change my life?’ I just didn’t care.”