LONDON -- Desiree Davila, who holds the American record on the Boston Marathon course and was considered a medal candidate at Sunday's Olympic marathon, stepped off the course after 2.2 miles, unable to continue because of pain in her right hip and groin that has plagued her for the last month.
Davila, 29, a native of Chula Vista. Calif., who trains in suburban Detroit, came to London knowing there was a possibility she wouldn't be able to finish the race. She first felt pain after a high-mileage day in early July.
An MRI showed no fracture but the injury has not been precisely diagnosed yet; Davila said the possibilities include a sports hernia, a torn labrum or simple tendinitis.
She obtained doctors' permission to have a cortisone shot but got no relief and has been running on a special anti-gravity treadmill that minimizes impact but left her in far from peak form.
"I mean, obviously I was coming in a little beat up and injured,'' she said. "This was the first day really testing it out on solid ground. ... I could tell on the first turn it wasn't going to be right today, and you can't fake the marathon.
"I'm not going to compromise the rest of my career, I'm still relatively young, just turned 29. If I were 36, having the same thing, maybe I would have sought a lot of other options.''
Up until the last minute, Davila kept hoping she would "catch magic,'' she said, and insisted on taking the start even after her coach, Kevin Hanson of the Hanson-Brooks Distance Project, told the Detroit Free Press last week that she was going to have to withdraw.
"I've been training through pain, having ups and downs and highs and lows,''Davila said. "I do feel like you have to cross the line to be an Olympian, to have that title, and I feel like I've earned that, the last month especially, I put everything I had into getting here.''