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Posted: April 14, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Pending World 50-K Best for Des Linden: 2:59:54

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

(13-Apr) -- Des Linden, who willed herself to victory at the bitterly cold and wet Boston Marathon in 2018, achieved another career milestone today, running a world best time for 50 kilometers on a bicycle path outside of Eugene, Ore. Linden, 37, clocked 2:59:54 at the Brooks Running 50-K and Marathon, shattering the World Athletics world "best" of 3:07:20 set by Britain's Aly Dixon at the IAU World 50-K Championships in Brasov, Romania, on September 1, 2019. Linden averaged 3 minutes and 36 seconds per kilometer (5:48 per mile).

PHOTO: Des Linden sets a pending world best for 50-K in Eugene, Ore., on April 13, 2021 (photo by Justin Britton; used with permission)

"I certainly had a healthy fear of the distance, and I hadn't raced in a very long time," Linden told reporters in a video conference after getting out of drug testing. She added: "I was very conscious of I wanted this to be under three hours."

Linden, a two-time Olympian, is known for her ability to grind at a steady pace and that was on full display today. She clicked through the half-marathon in 1:15:47, on pace for a 2:59:36 finish, but she said later that she felt a little creaky at the start. It was a chilly morning, and the last time she competed in an official race was exactly four months ago when she ran a low-key half-marathon in Biloxi, Miss.

"I felt rusty the first six (miles)," Linden said. "We were locked in at 5:50 pace. It was a little chilly and I just felt like I needed more time to warm up." She continued: "We felt it out early, and then once I got warmed up we locked in quite easily."

With pacemaker Charlie Lawrence at her side, she began to feel the rhythm of the course. The pair went through the marathon at 2:31:13, still on track for a sub-three hour finish. From there, she had to hold on for a little less than five miles to get the record.

"I was almost a little disappointed to see 2:31 because we're so used to marathon times," Linden quipped. "Then you start processing it. You've got great time here. About 24 (miles) or so I was like, this is about to get very, very tough." She continued: "I think at that point it was like 5:46, 5:47 (per mile), just try to lock that in for the rest of the day."

Linden also broke the 38 year-old American record of 3:13:51 set by Janis Klecker in Tallahassee, Fla.

Josh Cox, Linden's agent who organized today's event, held the finish tape with his wife and business partner, Carrie. Cox is the USA 50-K record holder (2:43:45), a mark he set in Tempe, Ariz., in 2011.

Sadly, Linden won't be credited with a world record by the world governing body for athletics and road running, World Athletics. The 50-kilometer distance is one of 18 disciplines relegated to "world best" status, like the 150-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles, and 35-kilometer race walk, and does not enjoy world record status. Ultrarunners have called for years to have the 50-K elevated to world record status, like the marathon and 100-K.

Linden said that she hoped to return to the the top level of marathon racing this fall, and wanted to stay focused on the marathon as long as she felt competitive at that distance However, she said that running additional ultras, even 50 miles or 100 km, intrigued her. She also might do another 50-K.

"I've been in this sport for a really long time and I never want to feel like I'm stagnating or bored with what I'm doing," she said. She added: "I would do it again."


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