Marathon runner representing Metro Detroit in the Summer Olympics in London

Desiree Davila may be from southern California, but she lives in Rochester Hills, considers herself Michigander


DETROIT – Desiree Davila is training for the race of her life.

Davila, a marathon runner who trains with the Hansons Brooks Distance Project, has qualified for the Olympic games in London this summer.

She came in second at the Olympic trials marathon in Houston in January.

"I think going to the Olympics and representing the US is something that any young kid dreams about and to actually have the come true and know that's in the future is really exciting for me," said Davila.

The runner is very focused on the task ahead of her - preparing for the marathon in London.

"We're just taking it day by day, and just trying to keep a good balance," said Davila.

While the trials qualified Davila for the Olympics, she captured the world's attention at last year's Boston marathon.

Davila came in second and was just two seconds behind the winner. She came very close to becoming the first American woman to win the Boston marathon in 26 years.

She returned to Boston this year to watch her competitors. Her coaches call her a true student of the sport.

"She learns a lot by watching her competitors and how they race and what they do in certain situations and it helps her develop her strategies when she competes against them," said Keith Hanson, one of Davila's coaches.

Davila was also just in London to check out the marathon course she will be running this summer.


"You're not training just for the distance, but training for the course as well," said Kevin Hanson, one of Davila's coaches. "There are a lot of turns on this course. And so we're going to set up where we do workouts where we do a lot of turns. Meaning, it breaks up momentum, it breaks up rhythm, and so sometimes it's not always easy to run fast in that situation, so we want to make sure we're training specifically for that."

Davila began training with coaches Keith and Kevin Hanson six years ago after she applied to be on their team.

"What we look for when we're looking at athletes has more to do with us looking at an attitude than it does anything else. And Desiree is perfect of that because I would not have ever contacted Desiree because of coming from southern California and going to Arizona State, I'm assuming she is someone that thinks 50 degrees is cold and so this is probably not the best place for somebody like that. They're softer. They're pampered. They're not Michigan tough. They're not all of us. And so, I was totally wrong," said Kevin Hanson.

The Hansons are proud of their southern California girl who considers herself a Michigander now.

"I'm a huge fan of the seasons," said Davila.

Davila is engaged to fellow runner Ryan Linden. The two have purchased a home together in the Rochester Hills area and plan to get married in northern Michigan.


Her coaches like her chances of coming home from the Olympics with a medal.

"We're not going there just for the trip. She has been to London plenty of times. She doesn't need to go there for sightseeing, she's going there to come home with a medal and so that is the goal," said Kevin Hanson.

Davila's job is running and she logs a lot of miles to get it done.

"I'm doing around 80 to 90 miles right now, which is the low end and then we'll work into marathon training and I'll get up to 120 miles a week for marathon training," Davila said, when Local 4 caught up with her earlier this month. 

She admitted there are some fun parts to her training. "When I'm not running, I do get to say a nap is part of my job which is pretty awesome," she said.

Davila's coaches said there will be no major changes to her training.

"So many athletes will approach race day hoping that their training was correct. She doesn't do that. She shows up on race day knowing that what she did is going to equal what she wants. So she goes in as a very confident athlete," said Kevin Hanson.

Davila thinks this year's Olympic marathon will be one of the best ever.

"At the Olympics, it's the biggest stage and people are running really fast right now. I think it's going make me, hopefully take another jump in my training and, you know, in my racing," said Davila. "If it comes together just right, who knows what can happen."

If you would like to know more about the Hansons Brooks Distance Project and the different training programs they have, click here.