Ryan Hall, the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials champion and national half-marathon record holder, has confirmed his participation in the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1. It will be Hall's first attempt competing in the world's largest marathon which will be celebrating its 40th edition this year.
"It's a dream come true for me to get to run the marathon that I've watched over and over again, and it's the marathon I first saw live in person that first caught my attention," Hall explained in a video recorded in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where he trains and posted at the marathon's website. "It caught my heart, and drew me into the marathon. I'm real excited to get to go back there and compete against the best field in the world and against the best U.S. racers."
Hall, 26, set the USA Olympic Trials record of 2:09:02 when he won in New York on a separate course in Central Park the day before the 2007 ING New York City Marathon. He has run three marathons since then: London 2008 (2:06:17 PB, 5th place), Olympics 2008 (2:12:33, 10th place), and Boston 2009 (2:09:40, 3rd place). He had made his debut in London in 2007, finishing a surprising seventh in 2:08:24, a USA debut record.
"Many have been waiting for this day, including all of us at New York Road Runners," said NYRR president and ING New York City Marathon race director Mary Wittenberg in a prepared statement. "We are so glad that this is the year that Ryan Hall will take on the history, the hills, the competition, and all that New York can throw at an athlete in his or her quest to be not only America's best, but one of the world's best."
Hall will be competing for two titles at the ING New York City Marathon this year. In addition to contending for the overall win and the $130,000 first place prize, Hall will also be trying to win the USA Men's Marathon Championship title which carries an additional $40,000 prize. Wittenberg also said that Hall would compete against an international field at the NYC Half-Marathon on Aug. 16 as part of his preparations for the Marathon. It will be Hall's first run at that race, too.
"It is doubly exciting to announce Ryan in both the NYC Half-Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon," Wittenberg said.
Coached by Terrence Mahon and training with the Mammoth Track Club, Hall was born and raised in the mountains of California in Big Bear Lake. An outstanding high school athlete, Hall finished third at the Foot Locker National High School Championships in cross country in 2000 behind only eventual Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein and Alan Webb. Competing at the collegiate level at Stanford University, Hall tried to become a miler, but realized that he was better suited to longer distances. He finished a dismal 76th in the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships in his freshman year, but as a senior won that race. In 2005 he won the NCAA 5000m title, setting the stage for his professional career where he represents Asics.
"I think what makes me most excited about the New York City Marathon is just the platform it provides for us elite athletes to shine on," Hall said on the video. He added: "I'm real excited to compete this year and will train real hard until that day."
Ryan Hall on his way to victory at the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials (photo courtesy of New York Road Runners)