Ryan Hall is already one of the most decorated American distance runners of all time and he isn’t even 30. Owning the American record in the half marathon among many other amazing accomplishments, Hall is on a historic path.
Hall grew up in the mountains of Southern California and it worked to his advantage from the get go. The altitude living helped Hall become the California state cross-country champion his junior and senior year of high school.
Remaining in California for his college career, Hall attended Stanford University where he led his school to the NCAA Championship in 2003 and was named Pac-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Hall earned his first individual NCAA Championship by sinning the 5000 meters in 2005.
Professionally, Hall owns the American Record in the half marathon, which he set in 2007 with a time of 59:43, making him the first American to break the one-hour mark at that distance. In 2007 he placed 7th at the Flora London Marathon. His time of 2:08:38 was the fastest marathon debut by an American and the fastest marathon ever run by a US-born citizen. Hall later broke that mark again at the 2011 Boston Marathon with his 2:04:58 4th place finish.
Hall and his wife Sara, also a USA Track and Field athlete, currently reside in Redding, CA where they train together and run their Steps Foundation. Hall qualified for the 2012 London Olympics with his 2:09:30 second place finish at the US Marathon Trials in Houston in 2011.
Q & A
When did you first start training in life? Where and why?
When I was 13 years old, in Big Bear Lake, CA. I was going down to a basketball game and driving by the lake in my hometown. God gave me an idea to try and run around the lake (15 miles) so that weekend I laced up my basketball shoes and headed out the door with my Dad for what would be the longest, most painful 15 miles of my life. When I got home I collapsed on the couch at home and felt like God was telling me that one day I would run with the best runners in the world, but that I was given that gift to help other people. I've been running and training full-time ever since.
When did you turn pro?
After my senior year at Stanford in 2005.
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
Running 59:43 for my first half marathon was a huge breakthrough for me. It was the first time that I actually felt like one of the best runners in the world. Then winning the 2007 Olympic Marathon Trials was a surreal experience for me. It was the first time I could say "I am an Olympian," which was always a huge goal of mine. Then running 2:04:58 in Boston was another incredible breakthrough for me. However I am still believing that my fastest times and biggest performances are still in front of me.
If there’s one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
My blonde hair and whiteness in the midst of the Africans. I would also hope that my faith, love for others, openness, and fearlessness would stick out
Track= pain, forget about it!
Foe= upset stomachs while running
What has driven you to work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity?
Believing that anything is possible with God and trying to fulfill my ability.
Are you a rebel? Why or why not?
In some ways yes. A couple of years ago I started a new approach to training called "faith-based training," which is designing training around prayer and the Bible.
If you weren’t killing it on a track or course, what would you be doing for a living?
My backup plan was always to be a bus boy in Alaska so I could fish the epic waters and take in the gorgeous mountains up there, but I have since developed a heart for the developing world and see myself being a part of fighting global poverty. My wife and I are already starting down this path by starting our own foundation geared towards fighting poverty (The Hall Steps Foundation).
Your favorite course:
Too hard to choose just one. Any major marathon is an incredible experience. I have run London, Boston, Chicago, and NYC and they are all incredible. The Olympics in Beijing was amazing when we ran into the Birds Nest. I will never forget that!
The venue that you purely dread…and why:
Any marathon run in the heat. I melt like a snowman in warm conditions.
Talent…other than your sport:
I like to think its making pancakes. I'll make a variety of flavors but my favorite are Chocolate Velvet Cake Batter Muscle Milk pancakes. They are amazing and super fast. I have them almost every morning. I serve them still in the fry pan and goey in the middle like a molten chocolate cake. They are amazing!
Your favorite Oakleys are...
Best song to practice to:
"Fill me Up" Jesus Culture
Dream vacation spot:
If you had to share a hotel room/apartment with one Oakley athlete, who would it NOT be and why?
I like everyone
People would be super surprised if they knew that you…
...colored my hair for the first time recently. It didn't turn out very good. I did it when Sara was out of town. She was pretty mad at me the first time she saw me.
What particular skills are you working on?
Always being thankful.
You’ve been mistaken for…
A 14 year old boy sitting in the exit row when I am actually 29.
"I love you Sara."