Ryan Hall to run 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, by Larry Eder

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Ryan Hall, 2009 BAA Boston, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ryan Hall, one of our top two active American male marathoners, announced on Tuesday, April 6, that he will be running the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Hall's expressed goal is to see how close he can come to the American record. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a screamingly fast marathon course, and Ryan Hall wants to run, really, really fast.....and he has everything it takes to achieve his dreams, most importantly, Ryan Hall possesses patience...

Ryan Hall announced that he will be running the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, to be held October 10, 2010. Admitting that making the decision this early, " It's kind of nice to have it at rest, not to be thinking, be figuring out what I am doing in the Fall."

"I am really excited to be running Chicago," commented Ryan Hall. " I was dying to run fast for a long time. My last time 2008 Flora London marathon. I have been looking forward to it for a really long time. I remember watching Steve Jones hit the halfway in 61 something, and I have been at Chicago a couple of times working with Nissan, so I am looking forward, to running on a flat course, and flying...." was how Ryan Hall explained his interest.

Ryan Hall made it quite clear that the ability "to fly" on the Bank of America Chicago marathon course, made it quite inviting, " I am going after time, kind of a nice deal, I will get a fast time sometime this year. " noted Mr. Hall.

Ryan Hall also spoke in the conference about the ability to run very fast on a course such as B of A Chicago. " I like to get into a rhythm, like I did at the Houston half marathon (Aramco Houston Half, in 2007, when he set the AR for the half marathon of 59:43)."

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Ryan Hall breaks Mark Curp's AR at the half marathon,
January 14, 2007, Aramco Houston Half Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ryan Hall is a fascinating runner. A fine prep athlete, who won the CIF California title for two miles as a junior (8:55.2) and 1,600 (4:02.6) as a senior, Hall ran well at Stanford, winning the NCAA title at 5,000m as a senior, leading teammate Ian Dobson to a 1-2 finish. But, it was after finishing university that he showed his talents, running a fine 13:16.03 for 5,000 meters. He then went to the half marathon, scoring a national championship in 2007. His 28:07.83 for 10,000 meters was run at the tail end of a 130 mile week! Ryan Hall is tough. He knows it, and his coach, Terrance Mahon knows it.

Terrance Mahon is a distance whisperer. Mahon would fit very well in a Buddhist monastery. His asceticism is obvious, his faith in his runners is obvious, and he is constantly learning. Mahon is a man on a mission. He reads Ryan Hall, and his other athletes, knowing when to train hard, knowing when to back off. That he has success from 800 meters (Anna Pierce, Morgan Uceny), to 5,000 meters (wife, Jenn Rhines) to the marathon should not be a surprise. Speaking to Terrance, listening to Terrance, one realizes that he knows he stands on the shoulders of the giants, such as, Joe Vigil and Bob Larsen, among others. Terrance Mahon is his own man, and his own idea of a coach. Mahon has evolved his approach to coaching, to training, through constant observation. Mahon fine tunes the workouts to the athlete, and provides a quiet confidence that, like the high altitude at Mammoth, is just what his athletes need.

Ryan ran his his first marathon at the 2007 FLORA London Marathon, running 2:08:24 and taking seventh. It was an AR for a marathon debut by an American, and fastest time ever for an U.S. born marathoner. After that race, Terrance Mahon just told me, " Ryans' workouts have been phenomenal." He smiled, and that was that..and it was noted in my notebook.

Hall has been a marathon phenomenon, running his first marathon, at the FLORA marathon in 2007, and returning in 2008, to run his personal best of 2:06:17, taking fifth. Hall impressed the marathon geeks with his stellar 2:09:02 through the hills of Central Park in NYC, in the Olympic Trials. In Beijing, Hall finished tenth in 2:12:33, having been totally surprised, as was the field, by the speed of one Sammy Wanjiru. Wanjiru does not respect the distance, yet.

Ryan Hall noted in the conversation on Tuesday, that the marathon is about learning. " I have to love the act of running, my daily runs, and keep it simple...you guys tend to worry more about my racing than I do...about me winning..I am constantly tweeking my training with my coach Terrance (Mahon). Terrance is always innovating, and fine tuning my workouts..I like that."

Hall does have the right attitude to succeed. It is obvious, if this young man gets flying, on his day and his course, no one is going to catch him. Hall hinted at the pressure he notes for him to win. He tries to stay away from that pressure..." I am learning from each marathon, and it takes time, and patience..I am happy to see Meb doing so well, it takes a lot of pressure off me..."

In Hall's two marathons since Beijing, he has learnt some tough lessons. In Boston in 2009, many observers were surprised to see Ryan leading so early in the race, noting that this might have taken some valuable energy from him that could have been used later in the race. Hall finished third there,in 2:09:40, showing toughness in digging to battle back from eighth to third. In November 2009, Hall looked menacing in the ING NYCM, but that day belonged to Meb Keflizighi, who battled Robert Cheruiyot and won the tough NYCM course, the first American male since New York since 1982. Ryan finished fourth in New York, running 2:10:36 on the tough five borough course.

Ryan Hall is a man of some complexity. Truly confident in his training, his training club, his coach and very supportive of his wife, Sara Hall, a world class middle distance runner, Hall seems patient enough to know that running at the truly elite level in the marathon requires training, support, a great day and much luck.

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Ryan Halls family, coach, manager, London 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In less than two weeks, Ryan Hall will be racing on the Boston marathon course for the second straight year. While the American media yearns for a U.S. winner, the field of Boston features a field where any of 30 runners could be winners. That is something, however, to take up with those who prepare the fields for such marathons. It is just a fact that, the level of competition at the global marathon level is just frightening!

I am not suggesting orchestrating winners, but having a field of 12 top athletes and focusing on them, would lead for a more prepared media and better coverage from various forms of media. Ryan Hall will have to run a perfect race to win at Boston in 2010. He is capable of that, but we, the media put much more pressure on his next marathon victory than he does.

Ryan Hall will also be racing against Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 ING NYCM marathon winner, and a training partner of Ryans in Mammoth. Ryan says that he is proud of Meb and while Hall would surely like to have won New York, Ryan is happy for Meb's day in the sun. That may sound strange, except to runners who race against each other at that level. Ryan Hall is sincere, there is no subterfuge there.

Running, training, promoting your sponsors is a lifestyle in itself. Do not believe it? Watch Meb or Ryan's blogs, twittering and videos. There is always something to do, and running needs to be fit into that day! The lifestyle is exhausting.

Faith plays a very integral part in Ryan and his wife's lives. They are sincere in their convictions and also are concerned with contributing back to the world, and making the world a better place through their success. I like that. Faith in a higher being, faith in oneself and one's plan, sure makes the two workouts a day, and globe trotting easier.

So, here are three things that we know: On April 19, Ryan Hall will line up, to give it his best at Boston. On October 10, Ryan Hall will line up to give it his best at Chicago. Those will be two races that we will all be watching.....

And here is the third thing that we know: Ryan Hall will one day, run the perfect marathon race. He will burn off this competition, and with a smile, he will cross the line, breaking the American record. His wife, Sara will be there, his family will be there, his coach, Terrance, his manager, Ray, and this team mates will be there. He knows it will happen. He can feel it. He has the faith to know that if he is patient, if he puts in the miles, his day will come....

Being a world class marathoner takes twelve to fifteen years of patience, two workouts a day and faith, quite contrary to our modern life, where instant gratification is de rigeur. That does not seem to bother Ryan Hall, he has the time, and he knows it....

For more on our the Bank of America announcement, please the release: http://www.runningnetwork.com/RNW/index.php/component/content/article/760

For more information on the World Marathon Majors, please click on www.worldmarathonmajors.com.

For more on the sport of running, please click on www.runningnetwork.com.

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