NEW YORK — Shalane Flanagan set the bar high for her U.S. compatriots last year, becoming the first American woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon.

Desiree Linden followed with a victory in April at the windy and rainy Boston Marathon, the first American woman to accomplish that feat in 33 years.

Those achievements motivate Molly Huddle, who finished third at the 2016 NYC Marathon in her debut at 26.2 miles after a successful middle-distance career.

“We have a very talented group of women knocking on the door,” Huddle said.

The 34-year-old from upstate New York is among that group. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Huddle broke Flanagan’s 10,000-meter American record from the 2008 Beijing Games.

In January, Huddle broke Deena Kastor’s 2006 American record for the half marathon. Kastor, who won bronze in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics, watched Huddle surpass her record in Houston.

“Some of the other American women already have the accolades under their belt,” Kastor said. “Molly is coming in a little more hungry. So I think we’ll see something special out of her on Sunday.”

The 5-foot-4 Huddle called it a “confidence boost” to finish on the podium in her first marathon. While pleased with her NYC Marathon result, she didn’t expect “so many solo miles” when dropping behind the pack during the five-borough race.

“It’s the ultimate challenge in the running world,” Huddle said, noting the uphill portion of the Queensboro Bridge at Mile 15 as the hardest part of the route.

Defending champion Flanagan and Linden are in the field, along with Kenyans Mary Keitany and Vivian Cheruiyot. Last year, Flanagan brought it home against a fading Keitany.

Huddle attributes the surge of American women in the marathon to watching Kastor, Flanagan and others perform at nationals and on the Olympic stage. She says “once you see it is possible,” it helps “shift your subconscious.”

“It’s raised the bar,” Huddle said. “It’s more encouraging than anything.”