At the 115th Boston Marathon on April 18, the U.S. contingent had high pre-race hopes, and under near ideal racing conditions - cool temperatures and a steady tailwind on the point-to-point course, they delivered spectacularly as Desiree Davila nearly won the women's race as the first U.S. Boston champion in 26 years with a personal record and U.S. course record time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 38 seconds, just two seconds behind winner Caroline Kilel of Kenya in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire finish.
In fact, the 27-year-old Hansons-Brooks athlete, who said post-race that her legs were "totally spent," came closer than any American to breaking the Boston tape since 1985. Davila also broke Joan Benoit's long-standing Boston course record from 1983 by 5 seconds.
The Rochester Hills, Michigan-based athlete is now the third fastest U.S. woman for the classic distance - only Olympic Marathon medalists Deena Kastor (2:19:36) and Joan Benoit Samuelson (2:21:21) have run faster. Brava, Desiree!
For the U.S. men, Ryan Hall, who finished third (2009) and fourth (2010) at Boston, pushed the pace early to set up the fastest marathon ever run - Geoffrey Mutai's otherworldly 2:03:02 win. The Kenyan star later acknowledged Hall's effort by saying: "He made the race fast for all of us."
Hall, a 2008 Olympian, finished strongly for fourth in 2:04:58, the fastest marathon ever by an American (Boston is not a record standard course because the course drops more than the allowable per USATF rule). Post-race, the 28-year-old California native said: "Whether this is an American record or not doesn't matter - I've got 2:04:58 next to my name and that's all that matters."
Another 2008 Olympian Kara Goucher also finished a solid 5th in 2:24:52, also a PR, and just 7 months removed from the birth of her son.
All three are expected to contend for berths on the U.S. Olympic Marathon team in Houston on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
It was a good day in Boston for U.S. distance running.