How fatigue and a break helped Desiree Linden finally win the Boston Marathon

For elite runners and weekend warriors alike, the race distance can be a terrible barometer. Twenty-six point two might be a nice sticker to put on the back of a Subaru, but it doesn’t come close to illustrating the training miles, the years of preparations, the injuries and setbacks and all the times that the starting line felt as far away as the finish.

In Boston on Monday, Desiree Linden’s feet splashed and her arms pumped as she neared the finish line. When she crossed it, becoming the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, she covered her face, seemingly in disbelief.

“It hurts right now, but it’s a perfect day for me,” she told CBS Boston. “This is a grinder’s day.”

She served as the pacesetter for a memorable day for American runners, who claimed seven of the top-10 spots in the women’s race and six of the top 10 in the men’s. Linden, 34, finished in 2:39.54, more than four minutes ahead of fellow American Sarah Sellers, a virtual unknown entering the race whose second-place finish was more surprising to running enthusiasts than Linden’s emotional win.

Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi was the surprise men’s winner in 2:10:46, running down defending champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya in the

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