Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ryan Hall wants to go fast

Being that I ran in college and continue to run I feel like I should weigh in on Ryan Hall’s record performance at the Houston Half Marathon. That’s why Al Gore invented the internet right? So I could download copy written music, watch people do stupid stuff on youtube and write about whatever I feel like.

No, oh he didn’t really invent it…well he said he was super cereal.

Ryan Hall, former Stanford standout, ran 59:43 to win the US Half Marathon title in Houston. Hall set an American and North American record for the distance (pervious record was 1:00:55 from 1985) and it’s being regarded as one of the best performances by an American ever at any distance.

It was a great performance for Hall and American distance running but even though he was a star at Stanford it’s still a surprise. Hall ran 4:00:52 for the mile in high school but he graduated high school the same year as Dathan Ritzenhein and Alan Webb, two of the most highly touted prep runners in history. Webb went sub four in the mile and Ritz went sub 14 in the 5k and won back to back high school cross country titles.
Hall was kind of like the Ben Roethlisberger (I hate comparing some one to him because I hate him but bare with me) to Ritz and Webb’s Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. He flew under the radar a little bit more. Granted he was runner up to Ritz in NCAA XC Nationals, won the NCAA title in the 5000 (13:22.32 for a school record) and was third at the US Outdoor Championships in 13:16.03 (which is five seconds under the Olympic ‘A’ standard from 2004 that was 13:21.5).

Note: Both Ritz and Webb went pro before finishing college while Hall finished up at Stanford and went pro after graduating.

I’m not questioning his plans or anything by all means if you can get to the Olympics in something then go, but he’s planning on running a spring marathon and then running in the trials. More power to the guy and I’d love to see another American take home a medal in a distance race but he does seem a little young to be devoting himself to the marathon.
You usually don't see top tier guys switching gears and focusing on the marathon at such a young age. Geb has just turned to the 26.2 after years of dominating on the track and it's likely Bekele won't turn to the marathon for a while as he is the most dominate distance runner in the world on the track. Running a marathon and running it in the trials marathon certainly doesn't mean that he's only going to run marathons in the future.

Ritz ran his debut marathon in NY and I’m willing to bet Hall rolls the dice and debuts at Boston because the potential of an American running well at Boston would make a bigger splash than say London but London is a faster course and will most likely be a tougher field.

I would also wager that he will take his shots in the marathon, get a trails time, run the trails to see if he can make the team. I think he’s also run either 5k or 10k at the Olympic Trails where he would definitely have a shot at making the team. Regardless of what he does he has definitely shown that he’s one of the top runners in the US. It will be really interesting to see how the US XC Championships go in February. One race with just about ever top American runner toeing the line, should be one of the best races in recent memory. Check out more about Hall and the US XC Champs at

oosh a video game story and a running story in two days…guess I’ve covered my dorky topics quota.

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