December 24, 2014
Ryan Hall, the fastest US marathoner ever (2:04:58 wind-aided at Boston), tweeted today that his next marathon will be the 2015 US Marathon Champs, which will be held at the 2015 ASICS Los Angeles Marathon.
My next marathon will be @lamarathon , US Marathon Champs 2015! Going back to where it all began, southern CA, excited to finally run it!
— Ryan Hall (@ryanhall3) December 25, 2014
The news reflects two things, the growing stature of the ASICS LA Marathon (which will host the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials) and the decline of Ryan Hall’s career the last couple of years.
When at the top of their career, American marathon royalty like Ryan Hall almost never run a marathon in the US outside of Olympic Trials that is not a World Marathon Major because the Majors (Boston, Chicago and New York in the US) pay the most in appearance fees for Americans. An American star sometimes makes more in appearance fees than the winner of the race gets in prize money.
According to all-athletics.com, absolute performance wise the best race Hall has run since his 2:09:30 second place finish at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston was the 1:02:53 Hall ran at this year’s San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon, which only netted him a 13th-place finish.
Ryan needs to turn around his career in advance of the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trails (to be held in La in 2016) and turning to his California roots make sense. LA is one of the top marathons in the US, underneath the status of a major. The winning time is likely to be a tad under 2:10 (4 of the last 10 years the winner has run over 2:10 and the course record is a more modest 2:06:35). The Olympic Trials will be held in LA in 2016 and while 2015 will be on a different course, Ryan will get to run on the streets of LA, one year before the Trials. Ryan can win $50,000 in prize money in LA ($25,000 for the US Champs and $25,000 for the open race), and the race is sponsored by ASICS, Ryan’s sponsor. No doubt Ryan likely also be picking up an appearance fee as well.
The other thing to note is that in the spring, there is only one Marathon Major in the US – Boston. If LA can emerge as a competitive threat to Boston, it’s a good thing for American pros, as right now if Boston is not that interested in paying the appearance fee the athlete wants the athlete has very few alternatives to turn to.
American star Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon this year in historic fashion, but in 2011 he skipped Boston because they did not offer him a sufficient appearance fee.
For competitive reasons and financial ones, Ryan running ASICS LA makes a lot of sense.
Discuss: On The Boards: BREAKING: Ryan Hall to run LA marathon