With nearly 30,000 runners faring through the wind and rain, the Boston Marathon is officially complete and Desiree Linden was crowned the first American woman to win since 1985, which is an incredible feat. Known as one of the most exclusive marathons in the world, to say the competition is fierce would be an understatement. However, if you haven't yet heard of Linden's unfathomable display of sportsmanship, prepared to be humbled.

The Detour

One of the clear favorites to win was American Shalane Flanagan, who is the defending champion of the 2017 New York City Marathon (back in November). However, one hour in, Flanagan had to take an unexpected 13-second break to use the restroom (or "portable facility" as announcers call it).

The Epic Sportsmanship Gesture

In an unusual and surprising move, fellow American Desiree Linden decided to wait back with Flanagan for those 13-seconds. Let's put that into perspective for a moment. In 2017, here were the times of the top 3 finishes on the Women's side: 

1 Edna Kiplagat        Kenya    2:21:52
2 Rose Chelimo     Bahrain    2:22:51
3 Jordan Hasay     United States       2:23:00

Take note that there were less than two minutes that separate first and third place, and merely nine seconds separating second and third. Linden risked 13 critical seconds.

Why?

An Unparalleled Lesson in Respect

While there's speculation that the move was strategic on Linden's part, it was an extremely risky decision--one that can only exemplify an unparalleled level of respect for a peer. The fact that Linden was still able to pull ahead and win is even more incredible.

All in all, I'm humbled. To see sportsmanship displayed at such an elite, competitive level is simply humbling.

Everyone loves to win. Winning against the odds and with dignity? Now that is powerful. 

Published on: Apr 17, 2018