I encountered a Twitter storm Monday afternoon as the Boston Athletic Association announced the elite field for the 2018 Boston Marathon. My (biased) opinion is that US women marathoners are the most exciting segment of distance running right now, so I wanted to take a closer look at just how stacked this field is.
Fresh off her first major marathon win in New York, Flanagan decided she wasn’t quite ready to retire yet and is making a run for another major title. The Boston native has always had her eyes on a win in the hometown marathon and would certainly be the cherry on top of a successful career before retirement.
Fun fact: “Every single one of her training partners — 11 women in total — has made it to the Olympics while training with her, an extraordinary feat. Call it the Shalane Effect: You serve as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting forward yourself.” Read more here.
Hall is also fresh off a win. With a solo effort for the vast majority of the race, Hall dominated the field at the USATF Marathon Championships earlier this month, running just a few seconds off a PR that she set five weeks prior. Coached by her husband, American Marathon Record-holder Ryan Hall, Sara is definitely coming into form for the marathon after moving up to the distance a few years ago.
Desi holds the best finish at a past Boston Marathon when she was 2nd in 2011. Linden is one of my favorite marathoners to watch as she is a complete metronome. During the 2016 US Marathon Trials, her consistency awarded her a 2nd place finish after she didn’t chase the breakaway that Flanagan and Cragg made earlier in the race.
Molly is the American Record-holder in the 10k from the 2016 Olympics (which I cried while watching) where her breakout performance was redemption from her missing out on a medal at the World Championships the year prior.
The marathon is relatively new to Huddle as Boston will be her second marathon after her debut last November. She’s no stranger to success on the roads, and I’m excited to watch her make the transition into the longer distance.
Jordan is the most exciting new(ish) addition to the American women marathoners. Hassay’s Boston debut last year was the fastest marathon debut of any American woman by nearly 3 minutes. She followed up on that performance with a blazing 2:20:57 at Chicago this fall, putting her at #2 on the list of American female marathoners.
From watching Hassay run the 1500 meter Olympic trials as a high schooler to competing for the dominant Oregon Ducks in college to having some injury struggles post-college, it’s satisfying to watch her find her stride again in the longer distances.
Full disclosure, I didn’t know anything about Serena Burla except recognizing her name as an elite runner. As it turns out, she has an incredible story! She’s a cancer survivor, and a surgery in 2011 to remove the cancer also took half of her hamstring. She underwent surgery again in August after finding another malignant tumor in her leg.
Kellyn Taylor was another name that was familiar, but I had to look up some details on her. She’s a total badass – pro runner, firefighter, mom, etc. Taylor came excruciatingly close to qualifying for the Olympic team in 2016, finishing 6th at the marathon trials and then 4th in the 10,000 meters.
I saved the queen for last. Kastor is the American record holder in the marathon, half marathon among other accolades. She has an Olympic bronze in the marathon from 2004 and broke the Master’s marathon record by nearly a minute in 2015, running 2:27:47. She’ll be 45 at the 2018 Boston Marathon and will still be running away from much of the competition.
Boston 2018 – I can’t wait to watch! Could this be the first year since 1985 that an American takes home the crown?