Strong American presence set for 2014 Boston Marathon

Tuesday, 07 January 2014
By Paul Osborne

11 US athletes have been named to the elite team set to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon ©Getty ImagesJanuary 7 - One of the strongest elite American teams has been announced to run in the 188th Boston Marathon, just a year after the terrorist bombing that killed three spectators and left hundreds of others injured.

The team, of which all have competed in Olympic or World Championships, includes Desiree Davila Linden, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Serena Burla, Adriana Nelson, Dathan Ritzenhein, Meb Keflezighi, Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston.

Linden returns to Boston for the first time since running her debut marathon in 2011.

It was here that she set her current personal best time of 2 hours 22min 38sec, an American record for the course, and just two seconds off eventual winner Caroline Kilel.

"It is an honour to be included in the 2014 John Hancock elite field," said Linden.

"The Boston Marathon was home for both my debut and my breakthrough marathon.

"It seems to be an atmosphere that brings out the best in me, and I'm looking forward to being back out there in 2014.

"In light of the tragic events in 2013 - and I'm not unique in this respect -the Boston Marathon brought out the best in so many runners on the course that day as they showed both courage and compassion.

"I look forward to sharing the road and the journey in 2014 as we run together from Hopkinton to Boston and show the strength and resilience of the running community."

Three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, who finished fifth last year in Boston, will return to the course "fueled by those who were affected by the tragedy and will be running for those who cannot."

 Shalane Flanagan claimed a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics ©Getty Images Shalane Flanagan claimed a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics ©Getty Images

The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist won the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials in an event record of 2:25:38 and finished tenth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon.

She holds North and Central American records in the indoor 3,000 metre and 5,000m and in the outdoor 10,000m.

"In my career, I've never felt my running take on a more personal meaning than it will to prepare for this year's race," said Flanagan.

"The 2014 Boston Marathon will be run with overwhelming honor, passion and joy.

"Each step we take closer to the finish line is a victory in and of itself.

"It's hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete.

"In one word, I guess it would be 'pride'."

Three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will make his Boston Marathon debut in April and leads a strong US men's contingent.

Ritzenhein's personal best marathon time of 2:07:47, which he ran in Chicago in 2012, makes him the third fastest US marathoner of all time.

Dathan Ritzenhein became America's third fastest marathoner of all time when he ran a personal best of 2:07:47 in the 2012 Chicago Marathon ©Getty ImagesDathan Ritzenhein became America's third fastest marathoner of all time when he ran a personal best of 2:07:47 in the 2012 Chicago Marathon ©Getty Images

He is a three-time national cross-country champion and claimed a bronze medal at the 2009 world Half Marathon championships in Birmingham.

"I am very excited to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon," said Ritzenhein.

"Like all serious marathoners, Boston to me is 'the race', and I can't wait to toe the line on April 21st.

"Growing up with idols such as Greg Meyer and Alberto Salazar makes me want to add my name to this historic race."

Meb Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian, joins Ritzenhein and brings a wealth of Boston experience to the team following his third and fifth place finishes in 2006 and 2010 respectively.

Keflezighi just missed out on a medal at the London 2012 Olympic Marathon, finishing fourth following victory in the US Olympic Trials Marathon.

Other major accomplishments include winning the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and winning the 2009 New York City Marathon.

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