U.S. Olympians Meb Keflezighi And Ryan Hall Top Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Diego
In a tune-up for their Olympic marathon in August, Oakley’s Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall showcased their dominance of the US distance running field at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego. Keflezighi and Hall are two of the three members of the US Marathon team, already qualified for the 26.2-mile event in London this summer. Fans are getting used to the sight of Keflezighi and Hall finishing 1-2 in events in which they both compete. Keflezighi topped Hall at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX in January, both earning a spot in London.
Keflezighi has already won an Olympic medal; a silver in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Hall’s closest attempt was a 10th place finish in Beijing in 2008. Both Americans are qualified and ready to race against the world’s best in London. Although Hall has been battling some plantar fasciitis issues recently, he has been posting some impressive times since his last Olympic attempt, including the fastest marathon time by an American, with his 2:04:58 performance at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Keflezighi has also shown remarkable progress since 2004, winning the 2009 New York City Marathon in a personal best time of 2:09:08. Both men once lived and trained together as a part of the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, CA and consider each other friends on and off the course.
Their race in San Diego was not a full marathon, but the 13.1-mile half marathon proved a successful test for both runners. Keflezighi crossed the finish line first in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 11 seconds. This was his second consecutive victory in San Diego, a city that he considers his adopted hometown. Keflezighi defected from Asmara, Eritrea when he was 12-years-old and landed in San Diego where he began his illustrious running career. Hall, currently running out of Redding, CA posted an impressive 1:05:39 despite his minor injury.
“It’s always great to win here in San Diego,” the 37-year-old Keflezighi said after the race. “To win is a big thrill. I expected Ryan to be there, but I always run to win, meaning that I get the best out of myself. I’ve never been the guy that waits and shoots the last two miles and I hope nobody does that to me. It’s just good to be testing the limits from the get go and that’s what I did.”
Keflezighi will be testing his limits as he aims for gold in London. Hall was mostly pleased with his performance although he believed he went out a bit faster than he had originally planned.
“I was pleased with how I was feeling early on but 4:40 (first mile) was just too hot for me at this point and I knew that,” Hall said after the race. “My goal was to run 4:50 pace so I was kind of kicking myself partway through the race. Not that 4:40 is fast, but it just wasn’t what I was looking to accomplish today, so I probably put myself in a bit of a hole.”
Hall’s comments prove just why these tune up races are so important. Both racers will use this weekend’s half marathon as a gage for what they need to work on and improve leading up to one of the most important races of their lives. The anticipation for London is building and so is the promise of Team USA bringing home a medal. Good luck to Meb and Ryan down the home stretch leading up to the 2012 London Olympic Games!