Hall debuts in style in London

Ryan Hall carried a huge burden of hopes — his own and others — into his debut marathon at Flora London, the world’s pre-eminent 26.2-mile footrace, this morning. Having crushed the American record for the half-marathon in January with a 59:43, Hall appeared capable of a sub-2:10. Most of the time, however, it takes even the greats a few tries to nail down a quality marathon — particularly younger bucks with comparatively little road and track seasoning.
Hall has left no doubt as to his grit, preparation, and capabilites. The 24-year-old from Big Bear Lake, California ran the race of his life, fronting the lead pack of eight late in the race and eventually ceding the point to a half-dozen Africans, including fellow debutante Abderrahim Goumri (2nd) and world record holder Paul Tergat (6th).
It was a near-blanket finish for the top men, at least by marathon standards:


1. Martin Lel (Ken) 2:07:41
2. Abderrahim Goumri (Mor) 2:07:44
3. Felix Limo (Ken) 2:07:47
4. Jaouad Gharib (Mor) 2:07:54
5. Hendrick Ramaala (SA) 2:07:56
6. Paul Tergat (Ken) 2:08:05
7. Ryan Hall (US) 2:08:24
8. Marilson dos Santos (Bzl) 2:08:37
9. Dan Robinson (GB) 2:14:14
10. Andi Jones (GB) 2:17:49
Hall’s time is the fastest-ever debut marathon by an American and ranks him behind only former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi (2:05:38) on the all-time U.S. performance list. It also makes him the fastest-ever marathoner born in the United States, something it’s evidently racist to point out.
Hall’s timing is looking as good as his talent, with 2008 being an Olympic year. It will be interesting to see if he skips the track and field Olympic trials altogether in favor of focusing on the marathon; since that meet will serve as the U.S. Track and Field Championship in 2008 and would not interfere with Hall’s putative marathon preparation (the Olympic Trials for that event are this November, while the track and field Trials are in June 2008), one would expect him to race a 5K or 10K there regardless.

7 thoughts on “Hall debuts in style in London”

  1. A great job by Hall.
    I don’t think it’s racist to point out that he’s the fastest American born marathoner of all time, but I do think it’s unimportant. Nobody keeps track of fastest left-handed American marathoner or fastest brown-haired American marathoner or even fastest American marathoner born north of the Manson-Nixon line. It’s fine for trivia experts but that’s about it. The only thing in this area that I’m not fond of is when a country “goes fishing” for athletes, offering sizable compensation if the athlete switches citizenship.

  2. … north of the Manson-Nixon line.

    I loughed out loud at your slip(?) of the keyboard, Jim.

  3. Apparently there were a lot of problems in this year’s London Marathon caused by the unseasonal baking heat – all of 22 degrees C.

  4. By what logic is such a comment racist? Surely the option of being the fastest American-born marathoner is open to all races – the only restriction being to have been born in the USA?
    csrster,
    If you don’t think 22 is hot, perhaps you should try running a marathon in those temps? It is significantly different even than running shorter races.

  5. By what logic is such a comment racist? Surely the option of being the fastest American-born marathoner is open to all races – the only restriction being to have been born in the USA?
    csrster,
    If you don’t think 22 is hot, perhaps you should try running a marathon in those temps? It is significantly different even than running shorter races.

  6. Hall is the real deal and his 2:08:24 is nothing short of the second coming. U.S. fans have been waiting for a long time time for a debut like that. The ink isn’t even dry but Hall is already etched into into iconic status as an American great. Neverthless, you’d have give Meb Keflezighi’s 2004 Olympic Silver Medal a higher nod, in addition to Khannouchi’s former world record.
    Although the “American” born argument may not be blatantly racist, the veil is there. Little do most of these mental Lilliputians know, that Gold Medalist Frank Shorter wasn’t born in America (Germany to American parents), and probably a majority of the America Firsters conveniently forget that 1980s great Alberto Salazar was born in Cuba before Castro’s revolution.
    Next up, 22C is warm but not repressive, but you also have to consider humidity at the warmer temps.
    Using garbled synax here, although one marathon does not a career make, a fast debut by a 24 year old sure puts them up there high!
    Read it Here: the USAs Official l0 Best Marathoners, men’s division–
    1. Shorter (not the fastest but effectively 2 Olympic Gold’s [’76 was taken by an East German Druggie]).
    2. Kalid Khannouchi 2:05:38 PR says it all, plus major wins at London and Chicago, but he’s never done much on the championship scene.
    3. Bill Rodgers
    4. Meb Keflezighi
    5. Alberto Salazar
    6. Marc Plaatjes
    7. Greg Meyer
    8. Bob Kempainen
    9. Dick Beardsley
    10. Tie–Abdi Abdirahman and Ryan Hall (works in progress)

  7. I think the difference between giving Hall props for “top U.S.-born ever” and emphasizing that KK and Meb are naturalized American citizens is the difference between being being cycnical and being optimistic. It’s meant to be inclusive and highlight the fact that today’s 4-year-old American kids (of all creeds and colors) can perform at new levels, not exclude anyone for dour reasons.
    In the end it’s irrelevant, as some have said. But when people talk about giving a shot in the arm to U.S. competitive distance running starting at the youth level, face it — they’re talking about getting our kids active, not about recruiting young talent from overseas a la Qatar. If we believe otherwise, the terrorists will have already won.

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