It has been a VERY long time for Desiree Linden hunting down the Boston Marathon victory. Here is the first time I met her in Kenya

Desiree Linden at the Eldoret Sports Club, Eldoret, Kenya.

I met with Desiree Davila by chance at Eldoret International Airport on 8th January 2014 as she arrived to train in Kenya. Living very close to the airport, I usually go there to do some money transactions instead of going all the way to Eldoret town, and this was one of such incidences. 
She was awaiting a vehicle from Lornah Kiplagat's camp in Iten to pick her up and I got lucky to have some time to chat with her before the vehicle could arrive.
We promised to meet again, and indeed met at Eldoret Sports Club during the Nike Discovery Kenya XC. I didn't know she would recognize me, but she did! We chatted a little about her training as we watched the cross country races. 
I also wanted to know if she would do a local race here in Kenya before leaving the country of which she said she would have liked to, but her time to train here is limited and so she would rather focus only on her training this time round. We did not have plenty of time to talk and she requested to complete my interview by email, and I am grateful she was able to do that in the course of the day.
I was touched by her personality.

Below is the interview I had with her:

Kenyan Athlete:  How is your experience training in Kenya? What are some of your observations on how it is different from training elsewhere?

Davila: Now that I'm adjusted to the altitude, it's going well. Iten has been a great place to train, it's either uphill or downhill here so every day is a tough and challenging run. The environment at HATC is ideal for serious training, training is hard and you rest and recover equally hard, there are very few distractions. There is definitely a nice running culture in the town, you can head out the door anytime of day and find dozens of people out training.

Kenyan Athlete:  Where did you train in 2011 before running the Boston Marathon? Was it different in some way to the training you are doing now?

Davila: In 2011 I trained in Michigan with a few Florida trips mixed in. I'll head back to Michigan in mid February and I'll do the majority of my marathon specific work there, just like 2011. This is my first extended trip to altitude so that is definitely different than before and because I'm up here putting in a solid base before we get to marathon specific work, this marathon training segment will be a little longer than my 2011 buildup.

Kenyan Athlete:  What do you aim this year in Boston Marathon? Any new strategy you will like to try, or a mistake to rectify?

Davila: It's tough to say at this point, right now I'm just trying to get as fit as possible. Once I head back home and start doing race specific work I'll have a better idea of where my fitness is and what my best strategy will be. The field is incredibly strong, if things come together well for me I'd love to be there late in the race competing for a win, but I'm also cautious about trying to force fitness that my body is not ready for and ending up injured and not making it to the start line.

Kenyan Athlete: You just watched a local race in Kenya; the Nike Discovery cross country. How was it compared to the races in the USA?

Davila: The Discovery XC races were amazing to watch; the match-ups up front with some of the best athletes in the world were impressive, but so was the depth in all the races. I was surprised by the sheer number of entries in each race, it's no wonder there is always a new guy having a big breakthrough.

Kenyan Athlete:  Lastly, for the sake of campaigning for a clean and fair sport. What is your message to athletes who may be tempted to try using drugs to improve their performances?

Davila: Running is so great because it is, You vs. You; you can't control the other guys but you can push yourself as hard and as far as you want to go and test your own personal ability. If you cheat you're cheating yourself of that challenge, you'll always be stuck wondering what you really could have accomplished on your own and you'll be stuck knowing that you were afraid to find out.


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