Hansons-Brooks Runner earns spot on Olympic Team following career-defining performance
SEATTLE – Feb. 13, 2016 – Marathon veteran Desiree Linden today displayed her recognized nerves of steel and impeccable strategy to claim a spot on her second straight Olympic team. In Los Angeles at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project (ODP) runner battled the country’s greats to secure a coveted trip to Rio and a chance at finishing what she started in her 2012 Olympic debut. Her final time was 2-hours, 29-minutes.
Following heartbreak at the London Games when a femoral stress fracture prevented her from finishing the race, Des spent the last four years re-climbing the ranks back to the top of the U.S. distance running world with numerous standout and first-for-the U.S. finishes that include the 2014 New York City Marathon and last year’s Boston Marathon.
“Today tested everyone’s limits, and I’m totally thrilled with my race. A win would have been icing on the cake, but making it back to the Olympics was my ultimate goal, so I’m really pleased with what I accomplished,” said Hansons-Brooks Runner Desiree Linden. “I’m taking a moment to soak all this in and am excited to get to work preparing for Rio.”
Running conservatively early on in the race, Linden steadily moved through the field and settled into the chase pack behind Cragg and Flanagan around third place. She held off a late charge from Kara Goucher before closing hard and fierce in the last two miles to displace Flanagan and claim her spot on the podium.
Linden will represent the United States of America on the women’s marathon team along with Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan.
“Today was huge for Desi! This race was a long time in the making and to see her qualify for the Olympics is amazing and a little sweeter considering how far she has come since her run in London,” said Brooks Sports Marketing Manager Jesse Williams. “Des continues to be an inspiration and we can’t wait for her to represent Brooks and the U.S. in Rio.”
Linden wasn’t alone in her effort, though. She was joined by teammates Dot McMahan and Melissa Johnson-White, each of whom ran their third marathon trials, and trials rookies Jen Rock, Melanie Brender, Katie Kellner and Dani Miller. The men’s race was full of Hansons’ red and yellow with returners Mike Morgan and Luke Humphrey in their third marathon trials as well and teammates making their trials debut Brendan Gregg, Mohamed Hrezi, Jake Riley and Bobby Curtis.
“Des has been working toward this every day for the last four years. Seeing the work she put in day in and day out pay off is rewarding as a coach,” said Hansons-Brooks ODP Coach Kevin Hanson. “It’s a huge moment in her career and for Des, this is an important step on the way to medaling in Rio. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of her.”
Brooks sponsors athletes to inspire runners everywhere, and supporting them on and off the run is central to that goal. The Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, which was founded in 2003 to revive American distance running. Today, it’s one of the largest developmental running teams in the country with a proven track record of success in long distance running. Their team model for training inspired the creation of several other U.S. running teams, notably the middle-distance-focused Brooks Beasts Track Club out of Seattle.