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Desiree Linden, first U.S. woman to win Boston Marathon in 33 years, is 'on cloud nine'

“It’s amazing. It’s story book stuff,” Linden said. “It feels full circle.”
Image: Desiree Linden
Desiree Linden of the U.S. crosses the finish line to win the women's division of the 122nd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts on April 16, 2018.Brian Snyder / Reuters

Early into her run at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Desiree Linden said she was fighting the relentlessly cold and windy New England weather every inch of the way.

“The weather was brutal and early on it didn’t feel like it was going to be my day,” Linden told the "Today" show on Tuesday.

Despite her freezing hands and her body tightening up, Linden went on to be the first U.S. woman to win the race since 1985.

On Tuesday, she said her legs were dead but the rest of her is soaring.

“The rest of me is on cloud nine, so I can’t complain too much,” she said.

For Linden, the sixth time was the charm. In 2011, she lost the marathon by a mere two seconds — but the defeat pushed her to continue trying.

A Chula Visa, California, native, Linden loves Boston so much she named named her dog after the city. It is the first city she ever ran a marathon in — 2007, when she placed in the top 20 women finishers — and on the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Linden's hard work paid off as she sailed across the finish line on Boylston Street.

Before ending the 33-year stretch of foreign-born winners, Linden ran with elite runner Shalane Flanagan, who made a detour to use the bathroom during the race. Even with her desire to win the race burning, Linden didn’t leave Flanagan behind.

“I slowed down. I didn’t stop — we didn’t go to the bathroom together," she joked. "I slowed down, and looked back to make sure we could work together to get back in the group.”

Despite the pit stop, Linden was still able to finish the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon first in 2 hours 39 minutes 54 seconds. She said the reality of her accomplishment has yet to sink in.

“Every time I hear it, a little bit more, it sounds incredible,” she said. “I think it’s going to fully hit me in a couple of days.”

After years of trying, Linden said she’s finally gotten her fairytale ending.

“It’s amazing. It’s story book stuff,” Linden said. “It feels full circle.”