What I’ve Been Thinking About: The 2018 Boston Marathon

By Mario Fraioli
Lead women’s pack at Boston just past 10K. Eventual winner Des Linden is to the far right. Photo: Christine Gould

For a number of reasons, the event is still at the forefront of a lot of peoples’ minds, including my own, a whole month after the fact. Here’s why:

1. Since sharing my two cents a couple weeks back on the women’s prize money situation and whether or not an act of sexism was committed, the BAA decided to “ensure that these 5 additional women (all of whom started in Wave One) receive a financial award for their net-time performance this year. These awards will be made in addition to the existing prize money that will be paid to EWS competitors, and equal with the amounts paid to corresponding EWS placements.” Now, the BAA was under no obligation to award cash to these women, but they did, which was commendable given the odd circumstances of, well, the entire day. But it certainly wasn’t necessary. Erin Strout does a better job than anyone of explaining why in this excellent article for Runner’s World.

“Competition isn’t about racing a clock—it’s about racing each other,” Strout writes. “In order to win, you have to start at the same time, with the same athletes, whether you’re racing a mile in Flagstaff, Arizona, or 26.2 miles in Boston.” (Meanwhile, the Julia Reinstein, the writer of the off-base Buzzfeed article that I called out in last week’s newsletter, is taking credit for the BAA paying out additional prize money.)

2. That might have been it for Shalane—at Boston, anyway.

“I don’t know what’s next but for sure I think this was my last Boston Marathon,” Flanagan said. “I think that’s it. This course is really hard. The conditions are really hard. And I’m not averse to hard things, but I think I’m good with Boston. I think that was it.”

3. Pieces like this make it hard to forget about. Sarah Lorge Butler and Erin Strout (yes, I’ve linked to three of her pieces already this issue—she’s doing a lot of excellent work) put together this great behind-the-scenes account of how Des Linden won the race, with input from a number of the characters involved, from Linden herself, to her competitors, to her husband, to her coach, to race officials, and many others. Best piece I read all week.

“When I saw the finish line tape, I definitely did the fist pump,” Linden recounted. “The people are going nuts. This has to be for me. Don’t do something stupid. Don’t slip on the ground. This was going to be a picture that is going to be a lot of places. Don’t f— it up.”

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