Hall Wins USA Olympic Trials Men's Marathon

25 year-old Ryan Hall won the Olympic Trials Marathon this morning in New York City with a trials record time of 2:09:02. This was a special multi-lap course around Central Park, not the same route as will be taken for Sunday's NYC Marathon. Hall looked fluid and at ease the entire race, breaking away from the lead pack around 18 miles in. Dathan Ritzenhein was second in 2:11:07 and in third, Brian Sell in 2:11:40. Favorite and 2004 silver medalist Meb Keflezighi finished a few places back while heavyweights Alan Culpepper and Abdi Abdirahman both DNFed. While the top three make the 2008 Olympic Marathon Team, there is an interesting twist. Ritz has publicly stated that if he makes the Olympic team in the 10000 meter track trials, he will run the 10000 in favor of the marathon. This would open the door to fourth place finisher and alternate, Khalid Khannouchi, arguably the best marathoner of all time, to join the team. Khannouchi was the first man to run sub 2:06, and held the world marathon best twice before those records were eclipsed by Kenyan Paul Tergat and most recently Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie. It should be noted that Khalid was victorious against one of the greatest marathon fields of all time, the 2002 London Marathon, where he beat both Tergat and Geb and reset his own world record to 2:05:38 in the process.

I have no doubt that Hall could have easily eclipsed 2:09 had he wanted to, but was clearly enjoying the final mile, complete with high-fives and arm-pumps. He was not in the position of any of these folks. The Central Park course is not a fast course and some consider it to be a couple minutes slow compared to the flat record courses such as Berlin and London. With his dominant performance and easy stride, Hall appears to be an honest medal contender for the 2008 games.

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Ryan Shay collapsed early in the race, was taken to the hospital, and has evidently died. He was just 28 years old ... Don't know what can be added to that.

By Scott Simmons (not verified) on 03 Nov 2007 #permalink

Re; Ryan Shay - yes he appeared to run off the course 5 or 6 miles in and then just collapsed. Shouldn't have been under super stress at that point. Never revived. You never know...

The Central Park loop road is constantly rolling hills. It is almost never flat. I assume that is why it's slow.

By PhysioProf (not verified) on 03 Nov 2007 #permalink

Terrible tragedy about Shay - I wonder whether the fucktards at Letsrun will be honest enough to say the same things about him as they did about Alem Techale? I doubt it.
I think you could probably remove the qualifier "arguably" from the statement about Khannouchi. In his prime his speed and consistency were just stunning.

By hopper3011 (not verified) on 04 Nov 2007 #permalink

"Heavyweights" Alan Culpepper and Abdi Abdirahman. Haha..

From the Detroit Free Press:

Joe Shay said his son had been diagnosed with a larger than normal heart at 14, after a bout of pneumonia, and again at 16, after an auto accident. Shay said doctors in San Diego last spring told his son that he might need a pacemaker in the future. Shay also said his son had a resting pulse rate of 25, less than half that of a normal adult.

What made him such a great runner, Shay said, was probably what killed him.

Is there any truth to that? Anyone?

A resting HR of 25 is astonishingly low, even for a very well trained world class endurance athlete. 30s seems to be more typical for marathoners and cyclists. 25 is certainly "less than half that of a normal adult". It's closer to a third of a normal adult's HR (low 70s). OTOH, it is not true that there is a direct correlation between resting HR and race pace. Some national class athletes have had higher resting HRs than your average decent club runner.

From an article in the NY Times today: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/05/sports/othersports/05shay.html?_r=2&o…

"According to Dr. Paul Thompson, a cardiologist in Hartford who specializes in heart disease in athletes, most elite athletes have hearts that are enlarged by their exercise regimens. He said the key was to look not just at the size, but whether the walls of the heart were thicker than normal, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. That could signal a potentially dangerous condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

"Thompson said he had done studies of athletes who died suddenly during exercise, and he said he found that young athletes usually died because of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, abnormal coronary arteries or an inherited disease that causes heart tissue to pull apart, called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Another possibility to look for, he said, is an infection of the heart.