Born in Chula Vista, California, Desiree Linden first competed for Hilltop High School as Desiree Davila. As a freshman, Davila broke the 5-minute mile barrier.
She finished second at the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials to earn a trip to London. She did not finish her race in her Olympic debut due to an injury.
She qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics by finishing second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic marathon trials.