Last week, the fastest marathoner in America retired at the age of 33. Ryan Hall was a familiar site in the lead pack of several major marathons and had some incredible times. However, this month, he decided to retire from the marathon – a distance he certainly inspired many in.
America’s Fastest Marathon Retires
I had the opportunity to run in a race – the Gasparilla Classic 15K – several years ago and it was a race that Ryan Hall was running in (see here for a video about him from that event). Though I was quite a bit behind him, since it was an out-and-back course, I got to watch him on his return to the finish line. It was really amazing to see – his incredible stride and confident pace just eating up the ground at a blistering pace of 4 minutes and 40 seconds per mile.
Since that time, I have gotten to know him online as we exchange emails from time to time. As much as I appreciated his aggressiveness on the courses, I also appreciate the level of humility and down-to-earth personality he has. He is a genuinely nice guy and a fantastic runner.
Check out this video to see what it is like to try and keep pace with him – pretty cool!
His Marathons And Accomplishments
His times for the marathon have been impressive. He debuted in London in 2007 (got up very early to watch that race in Ohio!) and finished in great time of 2:08:24, good enough for 7th place and the fasted debut time for an American ever.
His second marathon was in November in New York City for the US Olympic Trials Marathon. He won it with a commanding time of 2:09:02, a Trials-record and an excellent time on the hilly course of Central Park.
He returned to London the following year and finished in 5th place with his fastest time up to that point – 2:06:17. With that time, he became the second fastest American ever at the marathon distance and it put him in good shape for the Olympic Marathon in Beijing that summer.
2012 Olympic Marathon
In Beijing, he placed 10th (behind fellow American Dathan Ritzenheim) in a time of 2:12:33. In his second Olympics, the 2012 Olympics in London, he ended up dropping from the race due an injury with his hamstring (I remember watching this race as well – it was an incredible race where Meb Keflezighi finished an awesome 4th place for the US). This was after claiming second to Meb in the Olympic Trials Marathon earlier.
4 Boston Marathons
He hit Boston 4 times, hitting a special mark in 3 of them. His times and the featured highpoints were:
- 2009 – 2:09:40, finishing in 3rd place less than 60 seconds behind the winner
- 2010 – 2:08:41, finishing in 4th place with a time that was an American record for Boston
- 2011 – 2:04:58, finishing fourth again but with the fastest time every by an American
- 2014 – 2:17:50, his slowest marathon time
He had been plagued with injuries during some of the years and had to not run a few marathons he had signed up for. When he retired from racing last week, he cited “chronically low testosterone levels and fatigue so extreme, he says, that he can barely log 12 easy miles a week.”
I was saddened to hear that he was retiring from racing but also relieved that he knew when it was time for him to pull the plug. He had an awesome and standout career in running, and not just in the marathon. He has a list of accomplishments and records that he had broken and set. Still, it is sad to know that we have seen the last of America’s fastest marathoners on the roads.
Thankfully, there are still several other runners that have great promise and have had great success (including Meb) that will be running in the Trials next month for a chance to represent the US in Rio this summer.