PHOENIX — For many years, Ryan Hall has been regarded as one of the world’s leading distance runners. Injuries, however, have slowed him down in recent seasons.
On Sunday, the 32-year-old Hall will attempt to prove that he has overcome his ailments and still can keep up with the world’s best when he competes at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon. This will be a tune-up for the USATF Championships marathon on March 15 in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles also will be the site of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials next year in February, when Hall will be seeking his third Olympic berth.
He said he feels good about Sunday’s race, but is reluctant to estimate a time he might run since he is unfamiliar with the new half marathon course.
The race, though, will be meaningful.
“This way, I can get a base for where I’m at, and I can tweak my training accordingly,” he said.
Hall said he is uncertain about his schedule for the remainder of the year, but probably would run another marathon in the early fall. That, he feels, should get him ready for the trials and a shot at the Rio Games.
The former Stanford star won the trials in 2008 and was the runner-up in 2012. He finished 10th at the Beijing Games and was forced to drop out of the London Olympics because of a hamstring injury. Since then, he has not been as successful as he was earlier in his career.
While he was at Stanford, he was the NCAA cross-country runner-up in 2003 and won the NCAA 5,000-meter title in 2005, setting the school record of 13:22.32. Since turning pro after his graduation in 2006, his accomplishments include winning the U.S. cross country title in 2006; winning the U.S. half-marathon championship in 2007; setting the American 20K record (57:54); running 2:08:24 at the 2007 London Marathon, the fastest debut marathon by an American; placing in the top four in the Boston Marathon for three straight years (2009-2011), including his PR of 2:04:58 in 2011; and qualifying for the two Olympic teams.
Hall also ran Boston last year, but did not fare well. “It was not my finest hour,” he said. “I was injured and had to take six weeks off.”
In an attempt to regain his old form, Hall spent the past 3 1/2 weeks training in Ethiopia before coming to Phoenix. “I got in some really good workouts and training,” he said. “I feel good for Sunday. Then, I will get to see how far my training has taken me. I’m curious to know where I’m at.”