2014 Boston Marathon: Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan headline Elite USA Team

Thomas B. Shea

John Hancock Financial announced the Elite USA Team for the 2014 Boston Marathon, featuring Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila Linden and Dathan Ritzenhein, the latter of whom will be making his Boston debut.

Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan and Dathan Ritzenhein headline the Elite USA Team for the 2014 Boston Marathon, as announced by John Hancock Financial Tuesday morning. The complete squad, set to take on the 118th running of the Boston Marathon on April 21, is rounded out by Desiree Davila Linden, Amy Hastings, Serena Burla and Adriana Nelson on the women's side, and Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston in the men's field.

Linden (previously Desiree Davila; she married in August) finished second at her Boston debut in 2011, and set an American women's record in the process with a time of 2:22:38. More recently, she finished second in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012 and was fifth at the 2013 Berlin Marathon (2:29:15).

"It is an honor to be included in the 2014 John Hancock elite field," said Linden. "The Boston Marathon was home for both my debut and my breakthrough marathon. It seems to be an atmosphere that brings out the best in me, and I'm looking forward to being back out there in 2014."

The winner of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Shalane Flanagan, returns home for another attempt at a Boston Marathon win (she finished fourth in 2013). The Marblehead, Mass. native set a U.S. Olympic Trials record with a time of 2:25:38, and finished second in her marathon debut at the 2010 New York City race.

On the men's side, American marathon legend Meb Keflezighi makes his return to Boston, where he finished fifth in 2010. For Meb, who was fourth at the 2012 Olympic Marathon, silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics and winner of the 2009 New York City Marathon, this will likely be his last run at Boston (he turns 39 in May).

"It is always a great honor to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon," said Keflezighi. This year's race will have special significance for all of us because of the tragedy that occurred last year. I am honored to be amongst the 36,000 runners that are running the 2014 Boston Marathon to demonstrate the spirit of the marathon."

American running fans will be excited to see Dathan Ritzenhein's name included on the start list. Ritz, a three-time Olympian and a running folk-hero of sorts from his high school days, will be making his Boston debut. The oft-injured 31-year-old is the third-fastest American marathoner of all time (2:07:47, at the 2012 Chicago Marathon).

Joining Meb and Ritz on the start line will be Jason Hartmann. The big-by-marathon-standards runner (6' 3") finished fourth in Boston in both 2012 and 2013.

The American runners will once again face a deep international field, including defending champions Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia.

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