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Desi Linden Returns To Boston Marathon With Quiet Confidence

BOSTON (CBS) - After a year away for the Rio Olympics, American Desi Linden is ready to return to the finish line on Boylston Street.

The elite runner is the Americans' best hope of getting a win in the women's race.

The two-time Olympian said in an earlier interview that she is coming to Boston to win, and WBZ's Lisa Hughes asked her about that.

"It gets people excited, it gets me excited," said Linden. "I don't think you should be afraid of your goals. If you can't say it out loud, you don't really buy into it. So putting it out there in the universe, it makes it easier for me to try and tackle and get excited about."

Desi Linden
Desi Linden (WBZ-TV)

The 33-year-old doesn't hold back. She wants to be the first American woman to win here in over 30 years. "This is America's marathon, and they need American winners," Linden said. "Meb was game-changing for the sport," referring to Meb Keflezighi ending the U.S. men's drought with a win in 2014.

Linden finished fourth in 2015 before sitting out last year's race to train for the Olympics, and she has a quiet and determined confidence about her this time around.

Desiree Linden
Desiree Linden led the elite pack for a large part of the 2015 Boston Marathon. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

"I know the runners and I know what they're about," Linden said. "I feel like this year, more than ever, I took a peek and said I can handle anybody on here. And then I forgot about it and have just worried about my own training and where I'm at."

In 2011, the California native was part of arguably the most thrilling women's race ever here in Boston, finishing second by just two seconds to Caroline Kilel.

"You know what it's like to be that close," Hughes said.

"I think about that a lot," Linden said. "It almost gets a little harder each year, because you know it's getting further away from that so-close moment. It would be silly to say I want top five or I want to finish on the podium. I've done that; I've checked it off the list. In Boston, the win is the only thing that's left for me to do."

After coming so close in 2011, Linden suffered a stress fracture in 2012 and it's been a long road back. But now Desi Linden says she is finally all the way back.

"I'm 100%. I'm in a great spot. I'm probably faster than I have been in a long time, and stronger as well," Linden said. "Healthy, fired up and hungry to get out here."

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