Ryan Hall recently made a decision. While he fortunately did not give it a capital “D”, take an hour of prime time television, and leave the city of Cleveland in shambles, his decision did disappoint some. Most of that disappointment stemmed from the fact that Hall, who decided he would not be running the Chicago Marathon next weekend, would not be showcasing some of the absolute best running talent America has ever grown against one of the fastest crowds ever assembled.
Basically, they just wanted to see Ryan run. Some, however, held more ludicrous view points.
Note: These are direct quotes from actual runners taken from various running forums.
“I hope his loyal fans don’t take this as a tip to RUN LESS.…we have enough fat people.”
“I’ve never been a fan, but I would like to see a white American win one of these big marathons.” (I cringe even quoting this one.)
“I think there’s more to running than winning even if it is your job.”
“This guy has a huge fan base. It may have shrunk today.”
It would take a 3,000-word response from me to even scratch the surface of how ridiculous these comments are. The simple fact remains that when you run the speed Hall or any of those competitors do, there are only so many of those races in your legs. To get up to that speed, regardless of talent and genetics, takes undeniable amounts of effort and toll on one’s body.
Run less? Since Hall was logging 130-mile weeks, I am sure running less would still be a tad more than the average runner, let alone American, out there.
I am going to pretend that Hall read my article last week, Using Your Head, since his decision came out the same day that I posted it. I am of course being facetious. However, I cannot help but applaud this decision. A few weeks ago, Hall ran a half-marathon over five minutes slower than his personal best. In the subsequent weeks, he tried getting his mojo back and realized it wasn’t going to be there. Could he still go out and “jog” a 2:15 marathon? Probably. He has that much talent and hard work installed in his legs. But he wanted to win. He wanted to set a new American record. He wanted to give himself the best chance to succeed at the highest level. He realized that not only would none of those happen in Chicago this year, but by going and pushing himself, he may exacerbate an existing problem he wasn’t even sure existed. But he knew he was nowhere near where he needed to be.