Is anyone else all in their feelings after Desiree Linden’s historic win today at the Boston Marathon?
No really. WOW. Here I thought I did something amazing today because I remembered to change the toilet paper roll AFTER using the last square. What Desi did today was nothing short of amazing, not because she won…. but for HOW she won.
Anyone reading this is likely aware that the weather in Boston today was actually short of amazing. Cold. Windy. Rain on rain on rain. So just to toe that line in Hopkinton was brave for many. But then you have the race itself. I watched as the elite women remained this pack of strength, chasing down that tape at the finish line, one drenched step after another. I was in awe of all of them, however deep down I continued to pay extra attention to Shalane Flanagan’s black and white hat and to Desi’s black and neon yellow jacket to see where they fell within the pack. I’ve never run a marathon, let alone one in weather like that. But I have to imagine that after the months and miles of training, in conditions like that… it comes down to heart.
Ironically, I was in the bathroom when Shalane took her 13 second potty break (yes, someone on the internet timed it – are you really that surprised?). So I missed that moment from the race, a moment that could chalk up as the game-changer for Desi. Scrolling through social media, I quickly got caught up on the details. Shalane had to go and Desi slowed up to help her return to the pack post potty. You’re an elite runner who is running the Boston Marathon… and you slowed down to help your fellow competitor. Just let that sink in for a minute. You ask the same competitor what you can do to help them because dropping out, as early as mile 2-4, has begun to cross your mind. Let that sink in too while you’re at it. You’re both still in the hunt, but it’s going to take some definite grit to overcome the leads of the other runners. And that weather. Enough said. But patience and persistence “rained” supreme, because soon I saw the leaders begin to fall back and the next thing I knew, Desi had established that surge and was passing the leader at mile 22. With “Heartbreak Hill” and many of the other challenging parts behind her, she was a little over 4 miles shy of winning the Boston Marathon… and from that point on, she wouldn’t look back.
Even at my peak as a runner, I found myself running a 13 minute mile (every once in a while surprising myself with an 11-12 minute mile). So my stats pale in comparison to probably 98.4% of the runners in Boston today. But when Des crossed that finish line, I felt like I had won something too. From Hopkinton to Wellesley to Newton to right on Hereford, left on Bolyston and all that lead up to today, Desi’s journey is a reminder for us all, runners or not, that we are made for more. More is showing up to do the work for months and months prior to the event. More is listening to your heart and body when you know you need a break. More is embracing the suck from things outside of your control. More is slowing down to help a friend regardless of the impact it could have on your outcome. More is feeling like you have nothing to give, but giving more anyway. More is that silent persistence, that “slow” and steady until the time is just right to make your move. More is looking forward, eyes on the prize, and never looking back. Today, Desi was more. She was more to her team, more to her community of runners, more to the spectators cheering her on, more to the thousands of viewers at home getting goosebumps by her determination and bravery, more to her country who hasn’t celebrated a female US winner in over 30 years, and more for herself…. most importantly.
Today, Desiree Linden didn’t just win the Boston Marathon (which, alone, is kind of a big deal), she also won the hearts of many. Somewhere, a little girl got a valuable lesson about what strength and heart looks like – that you can put someone else’s needs before your own, feel totally out of it, and still win the grand prize. Today’s victory felt every bit blue collar with a mix of the beauty in humanity. Thanks to Desi, we all won a little something today.