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Des Linden follows Boston Marathon win with New York City Marathon

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Des Linden will follow her breakthrough Boston Marathon win by racing her second New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.

“Breaking the tape at this year’s Boston Marathon was a lifelong dream come true,” Linden said in a New York Road Runners press release. “At the moment, it felt like it was the culmination of my career, but I believe I still have plenty more to give to the marathon. I’m thrilled to head to the TCS New York City Marathon this fall. I’m motivated to get back on the big stage that NYRR will undoubtedly put together and intend to make a name for myself in another great city.”

Linden, a two-time Olympian, became the first U.S. female runner to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years on April 16.

The 34-year-old navigated the world’s oldest annual marathon’s most dreadful weather in at least 30 years. High 30s at the Hopkinton start. Headwinds of 20 mph. A downpour.

Now she’ll look to make it two straight U.S. women to win in New York after Shalane Flanagan in 2017. Linden was fifth in her previous New York start in 2014, the last time she raced a fall marathon.

Flanagan, 36 and a four-time Olympian, has not announced whether she will defend her title, but she will at least be coaching 95 recreational runners/beer lovers who will be given spots on the Staten Island start line through Michelob Ultra.

The last female runner to win Boston and New York City in the same year was Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989. The last American runner (male or female) to pull off the double was Alberto Salazar in 1982, before Boston started awarding prize money and the elite international fields became dominated by East Africans.

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Eliud Kipchoge plots next marathon

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Eliud Kipchoge will race the Berlin Marathon for the fourth time on Sept. 16, seeking again to challenge the world record on the world’s fastest record-eligible course, according to event organizers.

Kipchoge, a 33-year-old Kenyan Olympic champion, won Berlin in 2015 and 2017 and was second in 2013, his only defeat in 10 career marathons.

Kipchoge’s personal best of 2:03:05, set at the 2016 London Marathon, is eight seconds shy of Dennis Kimetto‘s world record from the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kipchoge’s two Berlin wins came in 2:04:00 in 2015 (with his soles flapping out from the back of his shoes) and 2:03:32 last year (in rain and humidity).

Fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who lowered the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon and has run four sub-2:04s, is also in the Berlin field.

As is Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, the half-marathon world-record holder whose marathon personal best is 2:10:41, though he ran 2:06:51 in Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt not run under record-eligible conditions (where Kipchoge famously clocked 2:00:25 last year).

Top U.S. men’s marathoner Galen Rupp already chose his fall marathon, defending his title in Chicago on Oct. 7. Former training partner and four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah is expected to race either Chicago or New York City on Nov. 4.

The world’s other top marathoner, New York City champion Geoffrey Kamworor, has not announced his fall marathon plan.

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Survey shows Japan’s favorite sports for Tokyo Olympics

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Japanese men and women are most interested in swimming, gymnastics and the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics, according to a survey published Friday.

The survey, conducted in April with 1,207 responses from men and women 20 years and older, according to Kyodo News, revealed the following favorite sports for the 2020 Tokyo Games:

  1. Swimming
  2. Gymnastics
  3. Track and Field (Marathon)
  4. Baseball/Softball
  5. Table Tennis
  6. Soccer
  7. Judo
  8. Volleyball
  9. Track and Field (Non-Marathon)
  10. Tennis

Japan has a history of success in many of those sports.

Kosuke Kitajima is regarded by many as the greatest breaststroker in history after sweeping the 100m and 200m at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Before winning any Olympic medals, Kitajima was invited to the Imperial Palace to meet Emperor Akihito. He later moved to Los Angeles to get away from the celebrity lifestyle in Japan.

Japan has active star swimmers in Kosuke Hagino, who won the 400m individual medley in Rio, and Rikako Ikee, a promising 17-year-old sprint freestyler and butterflier.

Japan is also home to the man regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time — Kohei Uchimura, who won all eight Olympic and world all-around titles from 2009 through 2016. Japan once had a men’s gymnastics dynasty — winning every Olympic team title from 1960 through 1976 — and captured team gold in 2004 and 2016.

Some of Japan’s most memorable Olympic moments came in the marathon —Koichi Morishita‘s silver medal in 1992 and then Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi‘s back-to-back women’s marathon gold medals in 2000 and 2004.

Japan won the last Olympic softball title in 2008, upsetting the U.S. in the final. Baseball and softball return to the Olympics in 2020 for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games and are not guaranteed to remain on the Olympic program beyond Tokyo.

The survey also asked respondents to name their favorite athletes, foreign or domestic, with the following results:

1. Shohei Ohtani (Baseball)
2. Ichiro (Baseball)
3. Yuzuru Hanyu (Figure Skating)
4. Kei Nishikori (Tennis)
5. Mao Asada (Figure Skating, retired)
6. Shigeo Nagashima (Baseball, retired)
7. Hideki Matsuyama (Golf)
8. Hayato Sakamoto (Baseball)
8. Hideki Matsui (Baseball, retired)
10. Senichi Hoshino (Baseball, died in January at age 70)

Of those athletes, Nishikori, Matsuyama and Sakamoto could compete in the Tokyo Olympics. MLB players, like Ohtani, are not expected to debut in the Olympics in 2020.

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