By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(11-Dec) — Reigning TCS New York City Marathon women’s champion Shalane Flanagan will lead a top-quality American elite field into battle at the 2018 Boston Marathon, John Hancock announced today.  The 122nd edition of the race will be held on Monday, April 16, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.

PHOTO: Shalane Flanagan winning the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon (photo courtesy of New York Road Runners)

Flanagan, who grew up in nearby Marblehead, broke a 40-year drought in New York last month when she became the first American woman to win the TCS New York City Marathon since Miki Gorman in 1977.  The 36 year-old four-time Olympian had seriously contemplated retirement, but the lure of potentially winning Boston –a race she was forced to skip last April due to a back injury– was simply too strong.  She has a personal best time of 2:21:14.

Also racing Boston on the women’s side are 25-time USA champion, Molly Huddle (2:28:13 PB); the fastest American woman at the marathon distance in 2017, Jordan Hasay, who was third at both Boston and Chicago (2:20:57); USA marathon record holder, Deena Kastor (2:19:36); reigning USA women’s marathon champion, Sara Hall (2:27:21); two-time Olympic marathoner Des Linden (2:22:38); the sixth place finisher from the 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon, Kellyn Taylor (2:28:40); and 2014 USA half-marathon champion, Serena Burla (2:26:53).

On the men’s side, reigning Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Galen Rupp is the top American entrant.  The eight-time national 10,000m champion and 2016 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist had a superb year at the marathon distance in 2017.  Not only did he win at Chicago in a personal best 2:09:20, but he was also second at Boston 2:09:58.

The other American men who plan to line up for Boston are 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon bronze medalist, Dathan Ritzenhein (2:07:47 PB); four-time Olympian, Abdi Abdirahman (2:08:56); multiple national team-member, Ryan Vail (2:10:57); this year’s fourth place finisher at Boston, Shadrack Biwott (2:12:01); the 8th place finisher at this year’s Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, Scott Smith (2:12:21); and 2013 national 5-K road racing champion, Andrew Bumbalough (2:13:58).

“The 2018 John Hancock USA Elite Team represents a dedicated group of athletes who have consistently challenged themselves to compete with great success on the world stage,” said John Hancock chief marketing officer Barbara Goose through a statement. “We are honored to invite this team to the Boston Marathon to lead 30,000 runners along the world’s most historic marathon route.”

The last American athletes to win the Boston Marathon were Meb Keflezighi in 2014, and Lisa Rainsberger in 1985.