Emma Bates: Top American At The 2022 Boston Marathon

More Than Running

April 18, 2023

"I feel like I am ready to make an Olympic team."

Right after our CITIUS MAG watch party, Dana Giordano was able to rush over from our Boston Marathon watchalong and then kick it with Emma Bates just hours after she finished fifth at the 2023 Boston Marathon and clocked a personal best of 2:22:10. That was just a mere eight seconds shy of Shalane Flanagan's American course record.

We were blown away by Emma's confident pre-race statement that she was in the shape of her life. She said she views herself as a 2:18 or 2:19 woman right now. In the race, she backed it up and was not just mere talk. She proved it on the course by hanging with some of the best marathoners in the world into the final few miles.

Emma's joyous demeanor during the race was infectious. She was waving to her friends and family members on the course. In this fantastic conversation with Dana, she discusses all of that, how she broke down the race and the significant step forward that now has her thinking of taking a shot at the American record this fall.

Notable Quotes

What comes next?

“I definitely want to do a fall marathon. I think I said to some people that I’m ready to break an American record right now. Joe (Bosshard) has definitely believed in me so much. Typically, if you’re doing well on our team, he doesn’t really tell you that. He tells someone else on the team and then through the grapevine, you hear that Joe’s excited. He sat down next to me before the Boston Marathon and actually told me he was excited and told me I was ready. For him to do that, I knew that something was about to happen – something really special. He was just talking so much about the race and was so excited about the race beforehand that I just believed that completely. He believes I could break an American record right now. If this was a flat course and perfect conditions, that would’ve been today. That makes me really excited.”

Was that self-belief and confidence something you were looking for?

“I think I’ve always believed in myself in the utmost way. Even when I was a kid, I knew that I was going to make the Olympics at some point. I didn’t know what in but I just have that tenacity.”

What were the other sports considered?

“I really thought I was going to be an Olympic figure skater but I never have owned a pair of ice skates so that wasn’t going to happen for me. Then, it was hurdling like the 100m hurdles. I thought I was going to be very good at that but it didn’t pan out. I joined distance running and then found my niche. I feel like I am ready to make an Olympic team.”

We’re at this point where American women are putting themselves with the Kenyan and Ethiopian women and saying, ‘We’re here to contend for medals.’ Did you have any of that in your mind in those final miles?

“Definitely. My biggest ‘Why’ in this sport is to try and inspire the next generation so that little girls who are watching this race, I want them to know: ‘You can do it. You can be somebody up there.’ Maybe in that outside perspective or on paper, we shouldn’t be but I believed in myself so much and you can too. That’s always in the back of my mind. Trying to fight for every place for them.”

What’s the first emotion that came over you after the finish?

“It’s relief but also just trying to – it’s so hard to put into words. Everything just kind of floods in. Everything I do this for. I think about all my friends and family in that moment and all the people that came out and supported me. I think about the history behind such an amazing event like the Boston Marathon. This is my first time and I really wanted to make sure that I was in the right physical space and right headspace to do this Boston Marathon because I wanted to compete at my best. I feel like I crossed that finish line doing my best and I couldn’t feel prouder in that moment.

Dana Giordano

After a decorated NCAA career at Dartmouth and a stint as a pro with the Boston Athletic Association, Dana has relocated to San Francisco, where she continues to proselytize the sport, and dabble in new hobbies like gravel biking and skiing.