First a shout and congratulations to Belmont, MA's own Becca Pizzi! She finished the World Marathon Challenge! And set a new world record! I first found out recently that the great American runner Ryan Hall was retiring. I've followed his career for a while and it's really is too bad. He has been one of the greatest runners American Runners of this generation. He set and still has the US national record in the half marathon of 59:44, beating the previous record by almost a full minute back in 2007. Around New England he is better known for the solid times he has put in the Boston Marathon starting around 2009. He came in 3rd over all that year and then fourth in 2010. Boston 2011 was by far his most impressive showing in terms of time in Boston with a time of 2 hrs 4 minutes and 58 seconds, which was by far one of the best recorded by an American recently.
I first became aware of Hall back when he won the Olympic trials in Houston and set the half marathon National Record. He was pretty new on the scene and we both had finished college about the same time. (Our college careers were nothing alike, winning National Races...yeah...) I followed a lot of his races and was thrilled when he finally started participating in Boston rather than going to the London Marathon, like he had the two years before. I would have loved to see him at a race either along a course or on a track before he hung up his racing shoes. Using one of his 'slow' marathon times, he averaged with a pace of 5:15 per mile, which I probably could have kept up with him for maybe like 2 miles 10 years ago. He was an amazing runner.
I would agree Hall's times have not been what they were before and I think it stinks he is stepping away, US Track will miss him for the foreseeable future. I really admire his commitment to the things he has accomplished. I think it takes a lot to say, 'I just don't have it anymore and I have a standard I need to keep competing.' (Not everyone has the inhuman longevity of Meb) I have only trained for a marathon at the low end of the amateur level, so I don't think I can imagine the thousands training miles he has done in his professional career, but his times and races still remain highly impressive. I will miss hearing about his latest accomplishment or difficulty, though given his drive and mentality I doubt this is the last we'll hear from him.