The lack of pace was a reflection of the conditions - just over 3 degrees Celsius when the race began and pouring rain throughout the morning - which Linden described as "brutal".
"My hands were freezing, and there are times where you were just stood up by the wind".
"When you work together, you never know what's going to happen", Linden told NBC Sports. "A lot of guys have been talking about it, trying to be the tough guy and say, 'Oh, I'm not anxious about it, I will just have to deal with it.' But you know, we will find out how many people are still intact after 30K". Then you break the tape and youre like, This is not what I expected today..
Running Boston for the first time since 2015 and her fourth time overall, Flanagan was with the leaders for the first hour before having to take a rare stop for a bathroom break.
Japan's Yuki Kawauchi won on the men's side. Kirui slowed and stumbled across the Copley Square finish line 2:25 later, followed by Shadrack Biwott and three other USA men.
Linden's run was a memorable one not only for her triumph over the conditions, but also for her sportsmanship displayed on the course. American Tatyana McFadden, won the women's wheelchair race for the fifth time, wore two jackets, with a layer of plastic between them and hand warmers against her chest.
It was just tough, it was so freezing, Hug said through chattering teeth as a volunteer draped a second towel around his shoulders. "I'm just very glad that I made it". "It's kind of like the blinders go up at that point", she said.
McFadden, who went to the University of IL, said she wore two jackets - with plastic bags between layers to try to stay dry - and hand warmers against her chest. You cant put your brakes on right away, so you had to be tedious on the turns. I could see him.
The last Japanese man to win the Boston Marathon was Toshihiko Seko in 1987.
Rather than racing on with the group, Linden chose to hang back with Flanagan and help her make up the lost time and rejoin the main pack.
On the support of the BAA and John Hancock over the years: "In 2007 (her first Boston), no one believe I would be sitting here but the BAA treated us like rock stars".
"Probably 2011 is what put the fear in me", Linden said.