Ryan Hall Explains His Departure From Mammoth Track Club

By David Monti
October 22, 2010
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Editor's note: The blog posting referenced below can be found here.

American half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall, who was unable to compete at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10 because of fatigue, has finally explained his reasons for leaving the Mammoth Track Club and coach Terrence Mahon.  The 2:06 marathoner, who is traveling out of the country, said in a blog posting today that "change is an inevitable part of life."

"Recently, I prayerfully decided that it was time for me to make a change in my running career and withdrawal [sic] from the Mammoth Track Club," Hall wrote.  "Sara (his wife, a 1500m runner also coached by Mahon) and I are extremely grateful for all that our coach, teammates, and town have invested in us over the past five years, but it is time to take the next step.  This decision was not based solely on problems in my buildup to Chicago, but based on many factors, many of which I felt prior to Chicago and some of which I will explain.  I am making this pivotal decision with full faith that it will allow me to take my running performances to the next level."

Hall, 28, the fastest-ever American at the Boston Marathon with his fourth place 2:08:41 this year, had enjoyed great success under Mahon after graduating from Stanford University in 2005.  Under Mahon, Hall won the 2006 USA cross country title, set national records at 20 km (57:54) and the half-marathon (59:43), won the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon in an event record 2:09:02, ran 2:06:17 at the 2008 London Marathon, and finished 10th at the 2008 Olympic Games Marathon.

But after finishing 13th at the ING Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon in 63:56 last September, Hall said that he was too fatigued to start in Chicago, and withdrew from the race.

"I will not be on the starting line," Hall wrote on his blog on Sept. 30.  "I am extremely disappointed to have to withdraw from the marathon this year.  I was overly excited in my preparations for the race, causing me to overtrain and suffer from perpetual fatigue.  Despite pouring my heart and soul into these last six months of training and all my best efforts to rest and recover, I have been unable to restore my body to were it needs to be for me to step to the starting line prepared to fulfill what I promised when I first agreed to the race."

Rumors began to swirl earlier this week that the Halls were going to leave the Mammoth Track Club. Their manager, Ray Flynn, confirmed last night to Race Results Weekly that the Halls had indeed left the Mammoth Track Club, but hadn't decided where they would settle next.

"He's actually going to coach himself," said Flynn via telephone.  "He's kind of a free spirit."

Hall's blog posting today confirmed those intentions.

"I will be using some different sources to shape my training," Hall wrote.  "Over the past 14 years of running I have developed a keen body awareness, which I will use on a daily basis, as well as advice from various experts, and prayer to ultimately shape my training.  I believe that operating in this manner will allow me to run with a new level of faith and excitement."

Mahon, reached via e-mail earlier today before Hall updated his blog, was not ready to comment on the situation.

"I am choosing not to discuss the Ryan and Sara matter in a public forum," wrote Mahon.  "I believe that Ryan is going to make some kind of press release. I may choose to respond after that but for now I think it best to just keep moving forward with the team business as usual."

Hall wrote today that he planned to do some of his training in Mammoth Lakes after the winter, but that he and Sara would be training in different locations depending on what they were training for.  He also said that he plans to run a spring marathon.

"Sara and I will plan to train in a variety of locations at both sea level and at altitude, whatever makes most sense for the time period as I prepare for a spring marathon.  We will likely not be training in Mammoth until the spring or summer due to the long winter.  I believe this flexibility will give us a greater capacity to maximize our training."

Editor's note: Ryan Hall's blog posting explaining his decision can be found here.

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