By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission. 

(10-Jan) — On April 15, two-time Olympian Desiree Linden will contest the Boston Marathon for the 11th time this year just 72 days after running her fifth USA Olympic Team Trials in Orlando, the Boston Athletic Association announced today. The 40-year-old Linden, who won the bitterly cold and rain-soaked 2018 edition of the race, will be trying for her sixth top-5 Boston finish.

“At this point in my career, it’s an easy decision to return to the Boston Marathon and make it my top priority race of the spring,” said Linden in a statement. The longtime Brooks-sponsored athlete continued: “I can’t wait to take on the iconic course for an 11th time and have the opportunity to mix it up with some of the best runners in the world.”

Since making her marathon debut in Boston in 2007, when she ran a modest 2:44:56, Linden has made the Massachusetts capital her second home for running. In 2011, just her second time running the race, she came close to winning, finishing second in 2:22:38, just two seconds behind race winner Caroline Kilel of Kenya.

“I felt like I could run with anyone,” she said that day. “The last 800 meters, my legs were fried. I was trying, just trying, to keep contact.”

In 2018, on one of the worst weather days ever for the Boston Marathon, Linden willed herself to the finish line first after about three-quarters of the elite field dropped out behind her. She became the first American woman to win the race in 33 years.

“It was kind of comical how slow you were running,” Linden observed at the 2018 post-race press conference, saying that she was repeatedly “stood up” by the wind. She added: “Definitely toughest conditions on the cold side that I’ve run in.”

The B.A.A. also said that another top American, Emma Bates, would line up for Boston. Bates, who finished fifth at the 2023 edition of the race in a personal best of 2:22:10, scratched last week from the USA Olympic Trials, saying that she ran out of time to prepare properly due to an injury. She is one of 13 USA women who had achieved the 2024 Olympic Games qualifying standard (she actually did it twice).

“The good news is that I’m back to doing workouts with Team Boss (her training group),” she said in a video posted to her Instagram account. “Bad news is I’m withdrawing from the Trials. I just know there’s not enough time for me to be where I need to be. So, another four years to wait for another Olympic team. I’ll be OK.”

127th Boston Marathon
April 17, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

At the front of the race, Kenyan powerhouse Hellen Obiri will defend her title. The 34-year-old, who won last year’s race in her marathon debut, is preparing now with her On Athletics Club teammates in Boulder, Colo., under coach Dathan Ritzenhein and will run Sunday’s Aramco Houston Half-Marathon to test her fitness.

“I am excited to return to the 2024 Boston Marathon to try to defend my title,” said Obiri through a statement. “Boston is an historic race and I would like to add my name further to its history on April 15. Winning such a historic marathon with my family waiting at the finish line was an amazing experience.”

Elite athlete coordinator Mary Kate Shea hasn’t made it easy for Obiri, who also won last November’s TCS New York City Marathon. She’ll be facing 11 top Ethiopians, including Tadu Teshome (2:17:36 personal best), Worknesh Degefa (2:17:41), Hiwot Gebremaryam (2:17:59), and Senbere Teferi (2:19:21). There are seven top Kenyans in the field in addition to Obiri, including 2022 World Athletics Championships Marathon silver medalist Judith Korir, two-time Boston Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat, four-time top-ten finisher Mary Ngugi, and 2022 TCS New York City Marathon champion Sharon Lokedi.

In the professional wheelchair competition, American Paralympian Susannah Scaroni hopes to retain her title. Her primary rival will be Switzerland’s Manuela Schär, who had a tire puncture last year and was unable to finish.

Jack Fleming at the races, photo by BAA

“The Boston Marathon is proud to showcase the world’s best athletes year-in and year-out on Patriots’ Day,” said Jack Fleming, President and CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. “This year’s women’s field is exceptionally fast and showcases many who’ve been podium finishers on the global stage. It’ll make for an exciting race from Hopkinton to Boston, and we look forward to crowning our champions on April 15.”

The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and is a World Athletics Platinum Label Road Race. The top-5 finishers at Boston will be credited with 2024 Paris Olympic qualifying marks, despite the downhill course, because top-5 finishers at Platinum Label marathons earn Olympic qualifying marks under World Athletics rules. However, athletes finishing below fifth place will not be able to earn Olympic qualifying times because the course is about three times the allowable limit in elevation loss.

The Boston Marathon takes place on the third Monday in April, Patriot’s Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. The race had 26,598 finishers in 2023 and was the third-largest marathon in the United States.

2024 BOSTON MARATHON WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL FIELD (with personal best times):
Tadu Teshome, ETH, 2:17:36 (Valencia, 2022)
Worknesh Degefa, ETH, 2:17:41 (Dubai, 2019)
Hiwot Gebremaryam, ETH, 2:17:59 (Valencia, 2023)
Judith Korir, KEN, 2:18:20 (Eugene, 2022)
Meseret Belete, ETH, 2:18:21 (Amsterdam, 2023)
Tiruye Mesfin, ETH, 2:18:47 (Valencia, 2022)
Worknesh Edesa, ETH, 2:18:51 (Berlin, 2022)
Zeineba Yimer, ETH, 2:19:07 (Berlin 2023)
Senbere Teferi, ETH, 2:19:21 (Berlin, 2023)
Dera Dida, ETH, 2:19:24 (Berlin, 2023)
Edna Kiplagat (40+), KEN, 2:19:50 (London, 2012)
Mary Ngugi, KEN, 2:20:22 (London, 2022)
Nazret Weldu Gebrehiwet, ERI, 2:20:29 (Eugene) NR
Ababel Yeshaneh, ETH, 2:20:51 (Chicago, 2019)
Vibian Chepkirui, KEN, 2:20:59 (Vienna, 2022)
Helah Kiprop, KEN, 2:21:27 (Tokyo, 2016)
Hellen Obiri, KEN, 2:21:38 (Boston, 2023)
Emma Bates, USA, 2:22:10 (Boston, 2023)
Desiree Linden (40+), USA, 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)
Buze Diriba, ETH, 2:23:11 (Toronto, 2023)
Sharon Lokedi, KEN, 2:23:23 (New York City, 2022)
Malindi Elmore (40+), CAN, 2:23:30 (Berlin, 2023)
Fatima Gardadi, MAR, 2:25:03 (Rabat, 2023)
Angie Orjuela, COL, 2:25:35 (Berlin, 2023) NR
Fabienne Konigstein, GER, 2:25:48 (Hamburg, 2023)
Jackie Gaughan, USA, 2:27:08 (Berlin, 2023)
Dominique Scott, RSA, 2:27:31 (Chicago, 2023)
Grace Kahura, KEN, 2:29:00 (Sacramento, 2023)
Katie Kellner, USA, 2:32:48 (Berlin, 2023)
Briana Boehmer, USA, 2:33:20 (Sacramento, 2021)
Dylan Hassett, IRL, 2:33:25 (Pulford, 2021)
Parley Hannan, USA, 2:33:43 (Carmel, 2023)
Sara Lopez, USA, 2:33:48 (Eugene, 2023)
Annie Heffernan, USA, 2:34:33 (Lowell, 2023)
Nera Jareb (40+), AUS, 2:35:00 (Queensland, 2022)
Johanna Backlund, SWE, 2:35:10 (Hamburg, 2019)
Argentina Valdepenas Cerna (40+), MEX, 2:35:34 (Chicago, 2022)
Ariane Hendrix Roach, USA, 2:35:39 (Sacramento, 2022)
Michelle Krezonoski, CAN, 2:36:39 (Sacramento, 2022)
Shannon Smith, USA, 2:36:43 (Columbus, 2023)
Caroline Williams, USA, 2:37:01 (Sacramento, 2022)
Gina Rouse (40+), USA, 2:37:10 (Sacramento, 2023)
Kim Krezonoski, CAN, 2:37:20 (Sacramento, 2022)
Abigail Corrigan, USA, 2:37:45 (Sacramento, 2023)
Marissa Lenger, USA, 2:38:41 (Chicago, 2022)
Emilee Risteen, USA, 2:38:46 (Duluth, 2023)
Isabelle Pickett, AUS, 2:38:46 (Valencia, 2023)
Allie Hackett, USA, 2:38:52 (Duluth, 2023
Mary Christensen, USA, 2:38:55 (Big Bear, 2023)
Olivia Anger, USA, 2:39:13 (Indianapolis, 2023)
April Lund (40+), USA, 2:39:23 (Houston, 2022)
Sarah Short, AUS, 2:39:51 (Valencia, 2023)
Maura Lemon, USA, 2:40:30 (Valley Cottage, 2023)
Sarah Sibert, USA, 2:40:31 (Philadelphia, 2022)
Lauren Ames, USA, 2:40:34 (Valley Cottage, 2023)
Kassie Harmon (40+), USA, 2:41:48 (Utah Valley, 2023)
Elizabeth Camy (40+), USA, 2:42:51 (Sacramento, 2022)
Alexandra Niles (40+), USA, 2:43:23 (Hartford, 2022)
Amber Morrison (40+), USA, 2:43:50 (Sacramento, 2022)
Mindy Mammen (40+), USA, 2:44:01 (Duluth, 2023)
Ziyang Liu (40+), USA, 2:44:56 (Eugene, 2023)