12:16 p.m. ET: Yuki Kawauchi overcame 2017 winner Geoffrey Kirui to become the first Japanese winner since 1987, closing hard in the final two miles to earn the biggest accomplishment of his running career.
12:10 p.m. ET: DES LINDEN HAS DONE IT!
11:45 a.m. ET: Daska has relinquished her claim to first place, ceding the top spot to Kenyan Rebecca Chesir after Heartbreak Hill. Chesir’s lead doesn’t last long, however — Linden has surged into first place with her sights set on becoming the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.
11:34 a.m. ET: Mamitu Daska is still in front with a sizeable lead — but American Desiree Linden is beginning to reel her in as the punishing hills of the race’s final quarter await.
.@Mamitu_Daska still has a sizable lead on the rest of the women in the #BostonMarathon at the 30K mark with 1:52:32 elapsed. She is taking off her gloves and rolling up her sleeves as she pushes forward in the wind and rain at #Boston2018— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
11:21 a.m. ET: Galen Rupp botched his last shot at grabbing water when the ever-present rain forced his bottle to slip through his hand. He took a two-handed approach at his second pass.
Galen Rupp, shown here grabbing his water like a greedy toddler, remains in great position at the Boston Marathon pic.twitter.com/W3NsLVtjId— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) April 16, 2018
11:17 a.m. ET: Still not much separation as the men cross the halfway mark of their race. Galen Rupp remains in the lead pack, and this remains anyone’s race among the elites.
11:09 a.m. ET: American Tatyana McFadden overcame blood clots to win her fifth push rim women’s title with a 2:04:39 time.
.@TatyanaMcFadden is your 2018 #BostonMarathon Champion in the push rim wheelchair division, capturing her 5th win here in Boston. It is her 22nd @WMMajors win, the most of any female wheelchair athlete.— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
McFadden's unofficial finishing time 2:04:39 - slowest in 30 yrs
11:05 a.m. ET: We hope you’re enjoying the ground-level video today, because today’s awful weather has prevented NBC’s aerial coverage from getting into the sky.
11:00 a.m. ET: Ethiopian Mamitu Daska is your women’s leader in a driving downpour as the women push into the second half of their race.
10:50 a.m. ET: Swiss Paralympian Marcel Hug has won the men’s push rim wheelchair race, and it wasn’t even close. NBC doesn’t have anyone else even in frame as he cruises past the finish line.
.@MarcelEricHug is 2018 #BostonMarathon Champion in the men's push rim wheelchair division! His wins is a 4th consecutive victory at Boston and 5th title in his last six @WMMajors races. Hug's unofficial finish time 1:46:26 - slowest winning men's push rim time in 31 yrs— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
Meanwhile, the rain and win have picked up and hoooooo boy it looks miserable out there.
10:45 a.m. ET: American contender Shalane Flanagan is a bit behind the leader, after peeling off the women’s elite group for a quick port-a-potty stop. She’s currently chasing down the leaders early in the race.
10:05 a.m. ET: Not everyone came to Boston prepared for freezing rain. Some fans had to improvise.
And yep, it’s just as miserable out there for the men as the women.
#Boston2018 has started for the men. Weather conditions are no better than for previous groups. Temp = 38F (wind chill is 35F) with winds out of the southeast at 4 mph & rain. Likely the coldest start in 30 years for the #BostonMarathon— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 16, 2018
9:55 a.m. ET: The men are off and, yep, it’s gross.
9:45 a.m. ET: The 2018 Boston Marathon won’t just be a grueling battle of endurance; whoever wins this year’s event will have to defeat the elements as well. Welcome to Boston, Massachusetts, where the weather is an absolute nightmare. The temperature this morning is hovering in the high 30s as pouring rain is doing work to ensure both runners and spectators alike leave one of the most storied races in American history with hypothermia.
Middle distance runner Sara Hall, wife of U.S. marathoner Ryan Hall, says the conditions could create an advantage for this year’s American field.
This weather definitely gives the Americans a leg up at #BostonMarathon . Whenever I’ve trained in E Africa, if it rains (even lightly), the runners wait it out to train, rarely train in it.— Sara Hall (@SaraHall3) April 16, 2018
Before the race
There’s something special about the Boston Marathon. Maybe it’s the pain of Heartbreak Hill and how it’s managed to crush even the most gifted runners over the past 121 years. Maybe it’s the triumph of women, once barred from the race, gliding across the finish line. Maybe it’s because the race is a symbol of strength, a haven where both Boston and the running community banded together to support one another after 2013’s bombing.
Or perhaps it’s because it’s a marquee sporting event you can watch on a Monday at the office, alongside the traditional Red Sox day game that accompanies it.
Either way, the Boston Marathon may be the most-watched race in America and definitely one of the greatest days of the year for distance running. The 2018 version will be the latest in a chain of memorable events, but could take on legendary status if Galen Rupp runs the race of his life Monday.
Rupp finished the 2017 Marathon in second place, just 21 seconds behind winner Geoffrey Kirui. He followed that up with a win at the Chicago Marathon the following October, and now he’ll face tremendous expectations in Massachusetts. It’s been four years since an American has won the Boston Marathon (Meb Keflezighi) and 35 since an American-born runner men’s race (Greg Meyer). A victory Monday would cement Rupp’s status as one of the greatest long distance runners in the nation’s history.
He’ll have to fend off Kirui, the world’s No. 1 ranked marathoner, and the rest of a stacked field. Finishing times around 2:07 are common among this year’s top 10 entrants, but they may be forced to fall back and watch the American and Kenyan duel in their rematch of last year’s thriller.
On the women’s side, another U.S. runner could make waves and end a 30-plus year title drought. Jordan Hasay finished third in the race last spring, her first appearance in the Boston Marathon. Her current personal best of 2:20.57, set at last year’s Chicago Marathon, would have been good enough to take the top spot on the podium in the 2017 race.
She’ll be challenged by a trio of fellow American elite runners. Shalane Flanagan won the 2017 New York City Marathon, and at age 36 may be feeling the pressure to add the Boston to her list of accomplishments before her career begins to wind down. Molly Huddle is running just her second marathon, but her insane half-marathon times and endorsements from coach Ray Treacy suggest she’s well prepared for the switch to the longer distance. Desiree Linden has been a consistent presence in the top 10 in Boston, and 2018 could be the year she finally breaks from good to great at the storied race.
They’ll all have to get by 2017 winner Edna Kiplagat of Kenya first. She won by a comfortable 59 second margin the last time she saw the course.
Anything I wrote above, Let’s Run wrote better. Check out their comprehensive previews for a breakdown on every elite competitor with a shot to win the 2018 Boston Marathon:
2018 Boston Marathon Women’s Preview: Flanagan and Hasay and Huddle and Linden, oh my!
2018 Boston Marathon Men’s Preview, Part I: Galen Rupp seeks revenge against defending champ Geoffrey Kirui
2018 Boston Marathon Men’s Preview, Part II: How will the Americans fare?