Quiet yet determined, Desiree Davila at last got the acclaim she deserves when she made a heroic surge in the final meters of the 2011 Boston Marathon in a bid for the win, only to come up just short of Kenya’s Caroline Kilel. Davila is coached by brothers Kevin and Keith Hanson, who have become known for helping unheralded collegiate distance runners improve at the marathon. Brian Sell was a 2008 U.S. Olympic marathoner while competing for the Hansons Brooks program in suburban Detroit.
Age at the Olympics: 29
Trains in: Rochester Hills, Mich.
PR: 2:22:38 (2011 Boston Marathon)
Recent results: 2012 New York City Half Marathon, ninth, 1:10:44; 2012 Boston Athletic Association 5K, 10th, 16:03
Previous Olympics: none
Olympic outlook: Davila has been hampered by a hip injury that may keep her from Sunday’s race or at the very least keep her from competing at the top of her game. If she does run, Davila’s signature is to slyly run her own race and then churn out career-best performance after career-best performance while almost nobody is paying attention to her. She was barely mentioned before coming second in Boston last year, and the cameras missed her as she negative-split her way to a 2:27:53 at the world championships in 2009 in Berlin, five seconds behind highly touted Goucher. Like her female teammates, Davila is a bona fide medal threat who possesses the resolve that is required for Olympic marathoning.