Meet An Elite: Ryan Hall

Now that it's cool to care about the Boston Marathon again, Fittish would like to familiarize you with the runners at the front of the pack. This afternoon's elite: Ryan Hall.

Name: Ryan Hall

Country: United States


No, Seriously: It's true!

Age: 31

PR: 2:04:58 (4:46/mile)***

Why Did You Put Those Asterisks There?: Because he ran his 2:04 in Boston, which isn't technically "record eligible". Not only is Boston a net downhill course, it's point-to-point (i.e., a course that starts here and finishes way over there), which means a good tailwind can really help. And in 2011, that's exactly what happened: a steady wind from the west pushed the runners to times that we hadn't seen before and haven't seen since (the winner ran a 2:03:02, some twenty seconds faster than the current world record).

Okay, So What's His Real PR?: 2:06:17 (4:49/mile)

That Still Sounds Fast.: It is. Hall is the fastest American-born runner of all time, and the only non-East African male over the past decade that seemed ready to challenge their hegemony.

Coach: God.

Alberto Salazar?: No, God. Like, Jesus's dad.

Interesting. Is God A Good Coach?: Tell me what you think:

Pre-Professional Career: A Star In The Making:

  • 2000: Third Place in High School XC Championships
  • 2003: Second Place in NCAA XC Championships
  • 2005: First Place in NCAA 5000m Championships

2007 to 2008 Olympics: A Star is Born:

  • January 2007: US Record in Half Marathon (59:43)
  • April 2007: 2:08:24 in London Marathon
  • November 2007: Solo 2:09:02 to win US Olympic Marathon Trials
  • April 2008: 2:06:17 (PR) in loaded London Marathon

2008 Olympics to 2012 Olympics: Any Day Now, Star:

  • 2008 Olympics: Tenth Place
  • 2009 Boston: Third Place
  • 2009 NYC: Fourth Place
  • 2010 Boston: Fourth Place
  • 2011 Boston: Fourth Place
  • 2011 Chicago: Fifth Place
  • 2012 US Olympic Trials: Second Place

2012 Olympics to Present: Hey, Remember That Star?:

  • 2012 Olympics: DNF
  • 2012 NYC: DNS
  • 2013 Boston: DNS
  • 2013 NYC: DNS

I Guess That Says It All: Yep. Even if he never finishes another marathon, his run from 2007 to 2012 probably makes him the greatest US-born marathoner of all time. He doesn't have the resume of Frank Shorter, but Frank Shorter wasn't running against dozens of East Africans in their prime. But he remains a polarizing figure among fans, both because of his near-misses/recent hiatus, and because of his very Christian outlook.

Likelihood of Victory: Only God knows. On one hand, he hasn't finished a marathon in over two years, which is a bad sign. On the other, he jumped into Boston at the last minute (he only announced he was running in March), and usually you only do that when you're in great shape and ready to race.

But the truth is probably somewhere in the middle: he probably will focus on laying down a decent time here, with an eye towards mixing it up with the leaders in the fall.

Predicted Finish: Seventh.

Fun Fact: Even God doesn't like using metric distances.