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Marathon Master at 40: Des Linden Breaks American Masters Record at Chicago Marathon

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Des Linden, a true icon in the world of distance running, has stepped into the Masters category, turning 40 in July. While the years have rolled on, her speed and wisdom have only grown stronger, and her result at the Chicago Marathon has only solidified her status as a running legend.

Linden’s illustrious career boasts an impressive array of achievements: a two-time Olympian, the triumphant winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon, and the holder of the 50k record. Now, she can proudly add another feather to her cap as the American Masters record holder in the marathon.

The Chicago Marathon proved to be a defining moment for Linden. She crossed the finish line with an exceptional time of 2:27:35, surpassing the previous Masters record of 2:27:47, which had been set in 2015 by Deena Kastor

Linden’s performance not only secured her a new record but also showcased her enduring prowess in the sport.

In the women’s overall race, Linden secured the 17th position, an impressive feat in a field of elite athletes. Among American women, she claimed the 8th spot.

One of the fascinating aspects of Linden’s journey is her adaptability and willingness to evolve her training methods

In preparation for the Chicago Marathon, she moved away from her usual 10-week high-volume buildup, which had served her well in the past. Instead, Linden opted for a 16-week training regimen that drew on the accumulated experience from her years of dedicated training.

This shift in her approach emphasized quality and intensity, recognizing that the anaerobic system tends to decline more rapidly with age compared to the impressive aerobic base she has established over the years. 

Linden’s wisdom is evident in her acknowledgment that the training volume she had completed in the past didn’t need repetition. As she puts it, “I am now more focused on quicker stuff because that is what declines most rapidly as you age.” – via COROS

Despite entering her 40s, Linden remains committed to racing marathons. However, she has also expressed a growing interest in ultra and trail running, fueled by her remarkable 50k world record of 2:59:54, set in 2021. 

This diversification in her racing portfolio is a testament to her versatility and the enduring passion she holds for the sport.

Looking ahead, Linden’s competitive spirit shows no signs of waning. 

She is slated to participate in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, scheduled for February 3rd in Florida. 

Linden’s previous Olympic Trials performances, where she secured second place twice (2012 and 2016) and fourth place in 2020, underline her status as a perennial contender and a source of inspiration to runners of all ages.

Des Linden’s journey in the world of distance running is a testament to her unwavering dedication, adaptability, and enduring passion for the sport. As she continues to break records and push the boundaries of what is possible, she remains an inspiration to runners of all ages, proving that age is no barrier to greatness in the world of athletics.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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