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April 17, 2018

Des Linden: The Badass

Why Des Linden is a badass from the viewpoint of a Michigander who’s been paying attention:

  • Des pretty much had to pitch her way onto the Brooks-Hansons OG Distance Project after she graduated from Arizona State because her personal bests didn’t attract much attention from the bigger professional groups. She was persistent and earned her spot on the team.
  • “People” also didn’t think she was good enough to be barking up the professional tree because her 5,000-meter PR was something slower than 16 minutes. 
  • As a Cali native and an ASU grad “people” also, also didn’t think she could handle the Michigan weather. (HAHA JOKES ON YOU)
  • She ran Boston for the first time in 2007, running 2:44.56 …that’s 11 years ago. She’s been banging away at the marathon for a long time. The marathon is an unforgiving distance where sometimes the best only have a handful of good performances. She has been relevant for more than a decade.
  • She is constantly underrated heading into races and pays no mind. At the end of the day, she proves that the opinions of others do not really matter, because she’s been running fast marathons and finishing well for a long time. 
  • In 2009, she was 10th at world championships marathon and was the 2nd American. She ran 2:27.51.
  • She was fourth overall in Chicago in 2010, running 2:26:20 to be the top American at 27 years old.
  • She was second in Boston in 2011 after a ballsy and epic battle of surges and grit. The win slipped just out of her hands by mere seconds. Also the top American. 
  • In 2012, she made her first Olympic team. She went on to start the race at the Summer Games in London but DNF’d because of what turned out to be a stress fracture in her femur. She’s previously said that experience left her feeling, though she was technically an Olympian, that she didn’t actually compete in the Olympics Games.
  • By 2013, she was back at it. She finished 5th in the Berlin marathon and was back to her top American ways in 2:29.15. 
  • 2014. Boston. 2nd American. 10th overall in 2:23.54. 
  • In 2015, she was the top American in Boston, finished 4th in 2:25.39, and EVEN SPLIT A MARATHON. 
  • In 2016, she made another U.S. Olympic team and then took seventh at the Olympics (#2xOlympian) in Rio.

You’re getting it, right? 

Des has been killing the marathon game for years – like a badass. All throughout, she’s maintained a blue-collar approach coupled with the attitude of a champ. She’s been open and real about her successes, failures and struggles with the sport. She’s frank, witty and raw. 

She let us know she was disappointed after not winning Boston in 2011, she didn’t play it off that she wasn’t because to many of the same “people” who wrote her off, said they’d take second. She’s talked about being in a rut. She’s tweeted and Instagramed, refreshingly, about not being totally prepared for early season races—like at a random European cross country race—but that she’s going in anyway. 

She celebrates when her competitors succeed because it’s good for the sport and because she’s genuinely excited for them. 

She collects whiskeys. She drinks beer. She tweets jokes. She named her dog Boston.

She talks about her shitty base runs and the runs she doesn’t really feel like doing but shows up for anyway.

Des started talking frankly about her goal to win Boston a few years ago, which in my opinion set a tone for others to talk freely about their lofty goals, publicly, without feeling that vague need to apologize for big dreams.

And for Boston’s sake, she trains outside Detroit and in Northern Michigan. I know what those places are like—I’ve seen them. They aren’t trash, but they ain’t fancy. 

But that doesn’t matter anyway because Des Linden just won the 2018 Boston Marathon, proving attitude over everything.

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.

My advice: keep showing up.” – Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon Champion. 

Des believed in herself when other people kind of didn’t. She had the courage to foster her own dreams when other people were kind of like, “Eh, I don’t know about her.” 

Des Linden has the tenancy to give herself a chance to fight even when she maybe doesn’t believe in herself. She shows up. She grinds. She hustles.

Michigan’s proud to have her. 


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