2009 Marathon Runner Profile
Ryan Hall
Hometown: Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Age: 26
Personal best: 2:06:17 (London, 2008)

Career notes: The fastest American marathoner of 2007 and 2008, Hall has quickly proven himself one of the best distance runners in the world. He seeks to become the first American winner of the race since Greg Meyer in 1983. "The Boston Marathon is the granddaddy of the World Marathon Majors; to win her would mean as much to me as winning any marathon in the world, including the Olympic Games," said Hall. "To win in Boston would show the world that American distance running is indeed back to the days of Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and Bill Rodgers." A 2005 Stanford graduate and three-time Division I All-America, Hall quickly found his greatest potential on the roads. In late 2006, he set the American 20K record at the World Championships and in early 2007 broke the 21-year-old American half marathon record at the US Championships. He 59:43 win marked the first time an American had even broken the one-hour barrier. Turning to the marathon, Hall made his debut on the London course in 2007 and stayed with the African leaders until the final miles. His 2:08:24 was the fastest debut ever by an American. A few months later at the US Olympic trials, he set a course record as he cruised to a nearly two-minute lead over a top field; his 3:32 negative split (1:06:17/1:02:45) is one of the greatest in marathon history. Hall returned to London before the Olympics and ran 2:06:17, making him the second-fastest American of all time. Of his Boston debut, Hall said, "I know that anything is possible. I think the course is perfect for me, because I love downhills and I feel very strong on the hills. I believe I can run very fast and take a swing at winning."

Personal notes: Hall is married to the former Sarah Bei, a track and cross-country star. Originally from Big Bear Lake, California, Hall now resides in Mammoth Lakes and trains under Terrence Mahon. "I became a runner because I felt like God gave me a vision to run to help other people when I was in eighth grade," said Hall. "I didn't even like to run, but on my way to a basketball game, I got the vision to try to run around the lake in my hometown." Hall completed that first 15 miles in basketball shoes. The Halls are active with charitable groups such as Team World Vision, and worked on a campaign last year that raised nearly $1 million to help bring clean water wells and irrigation systems to poor communities in Zambia.
-- Courtesy BAA