Up against cold winds and rain, Desiree Linden (née Dávila) made history on Monday by becoming the first American Latina in history to win the Boston Marathon. The two-time Olympian powered through to the finish line with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds and a few moments that exuded Latina Power.
It’s been thirty-three years since an American woman won the Boston Marathon and Linden’s win marks a big-time first for Latinas.
Desiree Linden is overcome with emotion after winning the women's division of the 2018 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American woman to win the race since 1985. Linden finished fourth in Boston last year and second in 2011. ?@winslowtownson, @usatodaysportsimages #sports #running #bostonmarathon #boston #desilinden #marathonmonday #marathon #runner #run
Over four minutes ahead of her closest competitor, Linden braved a slew of harsh weather conditions as well as a rigorous course to win out amongst the marathon’s 29,978 participants. Back in 2011, the runner who is from California was only two seconds behind Kenyan winner Caroline Kilel.
The annual Boston-based marathon which has been around since 1897, only officially granted women the ability to participate in 1972. Up until that point, the marathon was a space primarily occupied by men and few women unofficially took part. In the years following the organization’s sanctioning of female runners, women from across the globe have competed. Still, the last time an American female runner broke the tape that stretches across the marathon’s finish line was in 1985 when Lisa Larsen Weidenbach completed it at a time of 2:34:06.
Linden’s accomplishment is a reminder of what today’s America really needs to see.
Latinas and Latinos have always had a huge part in our country’s success story. Still, in today’s political climate where our community consistently faces a barrage of attacks and is often shipped as a burden on American progress, there are various aspects of Linden’s run that we should be celebrating. Watching a Latina literally lead the country to victory isn’t just a sight for sore eyes, it’s a reminder of the fact that Latinas are vital to our country’s accomplishments.
There’s another aspect of Linden’s victory that should be aspiring not just for Latinas, but all women of today. Over an hour into the race, Linden took a surprising detour when she stopped running. Fellow American runner, Shalane Flanagan had left her leading position in the race to use a portable toilet and in a display of comradery, Linden deviated from her position to join Flanagan to ensure that they would return to the event together. In an interview with CNN, Linden said that by the time she had reached the race’s fourth mile she wasn’t uncertain of whether or not she would even make it to the finish line. “I told her in the race, I said, ‘You know, if there’s anything I can do to help you out, let me know because I might just drop out.’ When you work together, you never know what’s going to happen. Helping her helped me and kind of got my legs back from there.” The moment was undoubtedly a poignant example of the progress we can make if we remember to lend a hand to other women as we power our way to success.