Ryan Hall is out of the New York City marathon, and we all feel bad when an athlete is injured.
I have watched Ryan Hall run since his sophomore year in high school. Hall has developed into one of our most talented, and mercurial athletes in a generation. As Kevin Mangan, our intern at American Track & Field has written, never, ever write Ryan Hall out.
A few years ago, a few young Kenyans confided in me that they consider Ryan Hall a "White Kenyan". By that, they meant that he runs with the abandon of a Kenyan athlete and he is capable of great things-the highest complement.
We want Ryan Hall healthy and fit, and racing smart for selfish reasons. But, for other reasons, as a track fan, I want to see a guy who is quite capable of sub 27 minutes in the 10k, sub 13 minutes in the 5k, just blast a marathon into the stratosphere.
For Ryan Hall, that will require something that his current lifestyle does not seem to include: a solitary lifestyle. Distance runners, to be successful, need to be, during their buildup, quite selfish. They train, they eat, they sleep. They do not do charity build ups, they do not do tons of press conferences, and they do not fly to several places a week.
Once a Runner, the cult novel on running by the John Parker (if you have not read this, you are simply, put, out of your mind), tells the story of Quentin Cassidy training to be the best miler he can be. Cassidy trains in isolation with a guy who has already won an Olympic medal. He focuses.
We want to see Ryan Hall focus and win the big ones that have eluded him so far.
Kevin Mangan, who is less strident that me, puts it well on the ability of Ryan Hall, now injured.