Lessons learnt from Boston 2009: Ryan Hall, by Larry Eder

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Ryan Hall had an adventure in his first Boston Marathon experience. He spoke of some biblical proportions to his race. I understood his references, but felt that he might have considered Jonah in the belly of the whale ( great song, by the Burning Sensations, from about 1982, I think). Ryan ran with confidence early up until ten miles, slipped in the pack for three to four miles, had a rough time for two miles, then charged back from eleventh to third, giving all he had for a fine third place in his first Boston experience. Just what will it take for Ryan to win at Boston. This writer has a few modest suggestions....

Photo by PhotoRun.net

Ryan Hall's tactics, it seems were to break down the field as quick as possible. Going out in 4.41, hitting five miles in 23.39 and ten miles in 48.07, Ryan put the fear of something into the field. In the end, he did break Robert Cheruiyot, the four time winner, but it did not break Daniel Rono nor Deriba Merga.

If an athlete wants to truly win Boston, they need to consider the training plans of Bill Rodgers and Greg Meyer, Meyer especially. Take a month or so and move to Boston, and run the damn course every day.

Greg ( one of my true heroes, but I would never tell him that) would run the first half one day, then the second half, then run hard over the Hills, then do his twenty from mile six to the finish. Meyers knew the Boston course, respected the Boston course, and when he won in 1983, he owned the Boston course. Rodgers, Randy Thomas, Bobby Hodge, all knew the course and ran over it daily.

New York and Boston courses are never going to be Rotterdam, Paris or for that matter, London. New York used to be even tougher, but Boston, Boston is not going to change. That is part of its lore and its resonance.

The Boston Marathon demands one's respect. Running the course a few times makes tons of sense, but, in my humble estimation, if one wants to give themselves the upper hand on the course, move to Boston, train there for a month or so, learn the course, so that you can effectively race the course.

Ryan Hall will be back, so will Kara Goucher. And yes, we will have an American winner at Boston....

For more on the Boston marathon, please click on http://www.runnignnetwork.com

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