Ryan Hall Commits To 2010 Chicago Marathon
April 6, 2010
With just under two weeks remaining before his second attempt at the John Hancock Boston Marathon, marathoner Ryan Hall has announced he will run the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10.10.10 (October 10, 2010).
Citing the fast course that suits his rhythmic running style and the chance to expand his charity work in the city of Chicago, Hall and Chicago race director Carey Pinkowski announced the decision even before the start of the major spring marathon season.
"I've just been dying to run fast for a long time," said Hall, "The last time being 2008 at the Flora London Marathon."
Hall mentioned more than once in Tuesday's teleconference that after several marathons run in tough conditions, he is looking forward to good conditions and a flat course. "I've spent so much time preparing for the hills of the Boston Marathon, I'm looking forward to flying on a fast course." Hall's last three marathons were in the heat and humidity of Beijing in 2008, and on relatively hilly courses and windy days in Boston and New York in 2009.
Khalid Khannouchi set the American marathon record of 2:05:39 in 2002 in Chicago. Hall, who has a best of 2:06:17 from the 2008 London Marathon, and Pinkowski are hoping he can make another run at that record, believing Hall's strengths as a runner should mesh well with the course in Chicago. "I tend to be very much a rhythm runner," Hall said, "and really enjoy just clicking in a certain pace and going after times."
When asked why the annoucement is coming so early, especially before he even runs the Boston Marathon, Hall said the decision has, if anything, put him at ease. "When I'm out there running [in Boston], I won't feel the need to go out there and try and break the course record and run really fast because I know that in the fall I'll be going after a time."
Pinkowski stated that, from the race director perspective, Hall's charity intentions were the driving force behind the early announcement. The Hall Steps Foundation will receive 100 reserved spots in the race for runners looking to run to raise money towards water projects in Africa and stopping human trafficking. Also, Hall mentioned that he will start a running mentoring program in the Chicago area to give back to the sport.
With much of the focus on Chicago, Hall also answered questions about his upcoming Boston Marathon. When asked if his light racing schedule had him worried, Hall said he always gets asked the question and always answers it the same way. "No I'm not worried at all. Before all my best marathons I didn't race at all."
Hall said the recent success of other American distance runners such as Meb Keflezighi winning the 2009 New York City Marathon has lightened the pressure on his shoulders. "for me it's just a matter of, 'it's going to happen, it's just a matter of time.'" Learning to deal with the pressures of being one of the most talented and accomplished runners on the scene is an ongoing process, "Not only are other people hoping and expecting that I win the race," said Hall, "but also I'm very much expecting and hoping that I'll win the race as well. [I'm learning that] I need to take the edge off a little bit and just get back to the pure love of running... In some ways, in order to best compete at the highest level I can I have to kind of be willing to open up my hands and let go of having to win the Boston Marathon."
With Boston less than two weeks away and the hills of New York traded for the fast-paced event in Chicago this fall, Hall says he's trying to keep his mind focused on enjoying the process. "Whenever I'm having fun out there, good things happen. And plus that's the whole point of running anyways."