The New York Times' Lindsay Crouse wrote a superb article on the retirement of Ryan Hall, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/sports/ryan-hall-fastest-us-distance-runner-is-retiring.html?_r=1.
Lindsay Crouse gives the reader a view into the incredible talent that Ryan Hall was, his developing family and his decision to retire from the sport he loves.
My only beef with Lindsay is her less than, in my mind, accurate note on the state of distance running in the U.S. Distance running in the U.S. is at one of its most competitive states in decades. With the increased doping focus, American athletes will do even better. From the likes of Garrett Heath, to Chris Derrick on the men's side, and Shalane Flanagan and Des Linden on the women's side, the marathon Trials will be tougher than tough.
Ryan Hall was a phenom in high school. His time at Stanford had both highs and lows, but, as he matriculated, Ryan got back on the racing bandwagon.
His half marathon record at the Houston Half Marathon was a revelation. I was in London for his first marathon, and was quite impressed. I do not believe I missed any of his marathons.
For me, Ryan Hall had the potential to take it all. He was a contender in any race he ran. His up and down career was, as we learn now, partly due to low testosterone, per the New York Times article.
Ryan Hall's journey to find a remedy for his low testosterone that he would support, is heart breaking. Surely an athlete like Hall, who actually needed testosterone to reach normal testosterone levels, would have been approved for the hormone's usage. Hall turned it down, citing the side effects.
Ryan Hall was not capable of a two hour marathon, but neither is anyone else on this planet. What he was capable of, was winning a marathon like London, or Chicago or New York. He was the dreamer, come down to earth.
His compatriot, Meb Keflezighi, was a racer, who was always on earth. Both were and are, talented runners. Perhaps it was the long term relationship between Bob Larsen, Meb's coach, and Meb, that made the difference. Ryan Hall spent much of his career advising himself.
His win at the U.S Olympic Trials in November 2007 was a masterful race and one of the few showings of Ryan Hall's true talent. It was marred only by the death of Ryan Shay.
I enjoyed each and every interview I did with Ryan (and with Sara, for that matter). They are charming people, with strong believes that they live each and every day.
As a sports fan, I am sad that I did not get to see Ryan Hall with the medal around his neck that he properly deserved. I believe that Ryan could have broken 27 minutes in the 10,000 meters, as well as win a major marathon title.
I hope that Ryan Hall will inspire another American athlete to perform at those levels.