The Hansons-Brooks runner discusses her strategy to hold the fire to the feet of her fellow contenders.
Written by: T.J. Murphy
“I felt I could run with anyone today,” Desiree Davila said after her breakthrough second-place finish in 2:22:38 at the Boston Marathon today, suggesting she was one of the few not surprised by her taking the lead.
Some of the most striking imagery from today’s race was the battle, fought through the final miles of today’s women’s race, between Caroline Kilel, Sharon Cherop and Desiree Davila—the red-line efforts and courage of all three women was obviously on display—but also a case study of comparing levels of running efficiency. Davila’s form appeared far more efficient than her African counterparts—the amount of vertical oscillation was exceptionally lower and her running technique overall was streamlined into a graceful, elegant machine. Compared to Cherop and Kilel, you could almost see the fact that she was getting more average mileage out of every drop of gas. But despite the more relaxed, efficient form, Davila says that she intentionally forced a harder pace to
Davila’s final burst to try and take the race in the final turn was just one of the breathtaking examples of heart that made for such a great finish. But to be in a position where we she could set her eyes the way she did and pop the clutch—it was because her tremendous conditioning, patient race plan and off-the-charts efficiency put her in situation where she could go for it. It was also because of her determination to keep put pressure on the leaders to not slack off on the pace.
“I was just trying to keep in contact to give myself a shot,” she said after, talking about the more aggressive pace-making earlier in the marathon. But then, she said, the leaders slowed. “I think they were letting the pace get soft. I knew I had to keep it honest so that when it came time to the final kick we’d all be doing it on dead legs.”
If the image of Kilel collapsing after breaking the tape was an indication, it appeared like Davila’s strategy worked, and according to Davila, she kept the pressure on through the last seconds.
“I even thought I had a chance in the last couple of seconds, but I didn’t have anything left in the legs. Today she was just better than me.”