By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved –
Starved of an American champion since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985, organizers of the Boston Marathon announced today that Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila would be their best hopes for breaking that streak in 2011. The #3 and #4 American women of all-time, with career best times of 2:25:53 and 2:26:20, respectively, have committed to the 115th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.
“Kara, Desiree and other elite runners every year provide the millions of spectators and viewers with a thrilling race,” commented Jim Boyle, president of John Hancock Financial Services, the long-time sponsor of the race’s elite fields. “Marathoning is a global sport, but the growing prominence of U.S. runners among the world’s elite is a terrific development for fans and for the sport.”
Goucher, 32, who lives in Portland, Ore., will be running Boston for the second time, and will be running her first marathon since giving birth to her first child, son Colt, last September. In Boston in 2009, Goucher was still in the hunt for victory with just 800m to go, but faded in the final sprint against Kenyan Salina Kosgei and Ethiopian Dire Tune. She finished third in 2:32:25, just nine seconds behind the champion, Kosgei.
“I’m excited to be invited back on the John Hancock elite team,” said Goucher who holds the USA marathon debut record of 2:25:53 set at the 2008 ING New York City Marathon. “The 2009 Boston Marathon stands as the highlight of my career. I wished that I could have won, but I did the best I could and Boston embraced me for that.”
Davila, 27, made her marathon debut in Boston in 2007. Battling the strong winds and rain from a Nor’easter so strong that organizers almost cancelled the race, Davila finished 18th in the all-women’s professional race, clocking a modest 2:44:56. Since then, the former Arizona State All-American, who lives in Rochester Hills, Mich., has improved dramatically under the coaching of Keith and Kevin Hanson. She had a breakthrough performance at the 2009 IAAF World Championships, finishing 11th (one place behind Goucher) in 2:27:53. She bypassed the USA Women’s Marathon Championship race in New York last November, and instead ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon where she could focus more easily on achieving a fast time. She was rewarded with a 2:26:20, fourth place, finish.
“The biggest thing I was able to take away from Chicago and the World Championships is confidence,” said Davila, who represented the United States at the IAAF World Indoor Championships last March. “Everything we are doing at Hansons is about progression. I’ve learned how to prepare for the marathon; how to race the distance. I’ve gotten faster and more competitive up front each time out.”
The Boston Marathon, founded and organized by the Boston Athletic Association, is the oldest marathon in the United States. With 22,540 finishers last April, it was America’s third largest marathon in 2010 behind the ING New York City (44,829) and Bank of America Chicago (36,159) marathons. Along with the commercial marathons in Berlin, Chicago, London and New York, plus the IAAF World Championships and Olympic Games, the Boston Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors, the premiere series of marathons on the world.