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Hall to Make Boston Marathon Debut Next April - rrw

Published by
Matt Scherer   Nov 18th 2008, 10:14pm

By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

It's been more than 25 years since an American man crossed the finish line first at the Boston Marathon, but race organizers hope that will change next April when Ryan Hall of Big Bear Lake, Calif., steps to their famous starting line in Hopkinton for the first time.  John Hancock Financial, which funds the elite fields for the race, announced today that they had landed Hall, America's top marathoner with a 2:06:17 personal best, for the 2009 edition of America's oldest marathon.

"I am grateful to have the opportunity to compete on the John Hancock elite team at the 2009 Boston Marathon," said Hall, 26, through a news release.  "The Boston Marathon is the grand daddy of the World Marathon Majors.  To win here would mean as much to me as winning any marathon in the world, including the Olympic Games. To win in Boston would show the world that American distance running is indeed back to the days of Salazar, Beardsley, and Rodgers."

The last USA men's champion in Boston was Greg Meyer, who triumphed in 2:09:01 over compatriots Ron Tabb and Benji Durden.  Since then, men from Australia, Great Britain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korea, Italy and Japan have won at Boston, but not a single American (Lisa Larsen Weidenbach won the women's race in 1985, however).  Kenyan men have won the race 17 times since Meyer's victory, including the last three editions which were won by course record holder Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot.

"I hope that I can contribute to bringing American marathoning back to the forefront," continued Hall.  "There is no better place to do that than Boston.  What is done in Boston lives on for all time."

Hall certainly has a credible chance for victory.  In his marathon debut in London in 2007, he clocked a USA debut record of 2:08:24 and was actually leading the race at 30 km.  Later that year, he won the hilly USA Olympic Trials marathon in New York City in a championship record 2:09:02, the followed up with his excellent personal best in London last spring.  He finished tenth at the Beijing Olympics in 2:12:33. 

Hall has yet to have a bad outing at the marathon distance, and organizers will be counting on him to drive pre-race buzz for the next five months, which will surely be an added burden for the soft-spoken Californian who is coached by Terrence Mahon.

"Ryan's Boston Marathon debut will be a highly anticipated performance throughout the sports world," commented executive director Guy Morse, of the Boston Athletic Association, the organization which owns and manages the race.  "As an American Olympian recruited by our principal sponsor John Hancock Financial, his commitment to race in Boston, combined with his record of outstanding performances, are indicators that he will add great excitement to the 113th Boston Marathon as he challenges some of the world's best athletes on the world's most famous course."

Landing Hall is a major coup for Boston which has been strongly challenged by the Flora London Marathon in recent years for supremecy amongst spring marathons.  While Hall was well-received in London, his presence in the Boston race will have a much greater impact on newspaper coverage and television ratings in the United States.  The Boston Marathon is in live television nationaly in the USA, and nearly every major newspaper sends a reporter to cover it. 

The Boston Marathon, part of the World Marathon Majors series, will be held on Monday, April 20, Patriots Day in Massachusetts.

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1 comment(s)

Awesome!  I'll be there!

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