By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission
LONDON (13-Apr) -- Although all did not go according to plan for American Ryan Vail at today's Virgin Money London Marathon here today, the 28 year-old from Portland, Ore., was nonetheless satisfied with his 10th place finish in a personal best 2:10:57. His was the highest finish by an American man here since Meb Keflezighi finished ninth in 2009 in 2:09:21.
Running in his fourth marathon, Vail had hoped to crack 2:10. He was part of a four-man group which included Canadian Reid Coolsaet, and Britons Scott Overall and Chris Thompson. American Fernando Cabada paced the through group through half-way in 1:05:05, slightly slower than the 1:04:45 Vail had hoped for. Then things got more difficult.
"Our group kind of disintegrated, so it's kind of tough when that happens," Vail said in an exclusive interview with Race Results Weekly after the race. "Given all that, I ran as hard as I could today."
Although the temperature was a very comfortable 11-12C under sunny skies, the wind became pesky at points, Vail said, and losing the group made it that much harder.
"It was a little windier than I thought it was going to be," Vail explained. "I guess it always feels worse than it is when you're at 15-16 miles in a marathon. But, also the pacemaker dropped out half-way, and the group kind of fell apart at around 16-17 miles. I had to do a lot more leading than I was hoping.
Overall had a bad day, finishing outside of 2:20. Coolsaet slowed badly in the second half to finish 13th in 2:13:40. That left Vail to work only with Thompson, a 27:27 10,000m man who was running in his first marathon.
"We took turns for a few miles, leading," Vail recounted. "Then, a couple of the guys weren't feeling so great so they dropped off. Me and Chris Thompson took turns leading for a while, then he wasn't feeling so great. So, I led most of the last nine miles."
Thompson was able to stay close to Vail, finishing 11th in a credible 2:11:19.
After today's race, Vail said he wants to return to the track and try to improve his leg speed, particularly his 5000m personal best (13:32.10). He also said he would pull on his spikes for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., in late June, where he plans to run the 10,000m. He also wants to run a fall marathon.
Always self-critical, Vail broke a smile when he was reminded by a reporter that he had made the top-10 of the London Marathon, one of the world's most competitive road races (he also beat Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich who finished 12th).
"Being in the top-10, you can't complain about that ever," Vail admitted. "I mean, it was an incredible field this year. It was a step in the right direction, again."