Half Marathon Record Holder to Debut at Historic U.S. Road Race
Philadelphia, PA -- August 12, 2009 -- The only American to break one hour in the half marathon, U.S. Olympian Ryan Hall will toe the start line at the 32nd Annual ING Philadelphia Distance Run on Sunday, September 20, 2009.
"I'm looking forward to racing my first ING Philadelphia Distance Run this September. There have been some great U.S. performances at the race over the years and I'm hoping to bring a performance that will add my name to the ranks," said Hall. "The race fits perfectly into my fall schedule and I'm excited to be part of an event with such a great tradition here on home soil."
Hall set the U.S. half marathon record and earned a national title on January 14, 2007, when he won the men's U.S. Half Marathon National Championship in 59 minutes 43 seconds. He became the first and only American to break the one-hour barrier at the distance. His time bettered the previous U.S. record by Mark Curp that had stood for 21 years. Four of the top five all-time half marathon performances by U.S. Men, including Curp's record setting performance in 1985, were run in Philadelphia.
In 2005, American Deena Kastor made history in Philadelphia when she shattered Joan Benoit's long-standing American record by 41 seconds in a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes and 53 seconds. Four of the top five fastest U.S. women's half marathon times have taken place at the annual Philadelphia event.
"As the site of five World and five American records, the course in Philadelphia is fast and flat," said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete Coordinator for the event. "We have seen some great performances here in the past and the race is held at a great time of year. Having Ryan in the field is a great addition to this year's race and we're excited to see how he runs."
Hall, 26, won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York and went on to finish 10th in the Beijing Olympics. Most recently, he finished third in the 2009 Boston Marathon (2:09:40), becoming the first American to reach the men's podium since 1985.
The ING Philadelphia Distance Run has been one of the most popular and respected half marathons in the country for over thirty years. The 13.1 mile scenic course showcases many of the city's celebrated and historic sites. The race will begin at 7:45 am at Eakins Oval, on the Ben Franklin Parkway in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. From the start line, runners head towards Center City on the legendary Benjamin Franklin Parkway lined with fountains, international flags and a vast array of public art. Runners will then pass City Hall and Independence Hall. After heading back up Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the course rolls into the serene and picturesque Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River before finishing back at Eakins Oval.
Race weekend begins Thursday, September 17, when hundreds of future marathoners are set to kickoff the ING Run for Something Better training program at Franklin Field. ING Run For Something Better helps kids learn that physical activity is fun, while fostering their desire to exercise before obesity even begins. The kickoff event begins at 11:00 am.
"The ING Philadelphia Distance Run has continued to grow as one of the city's most prestigious events,' said Anton Villatoro, General Manager of the . "This year, we're excited to expand on our partnership with ING Run For Something Better and get more kids involved with the free school-based running program."
For more information, visit philadelphia.competitor.com or call 800-311-1255.
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