Evaluating Hall & Ritz's half marathons

America’s two brightest hopes in the marathon, Ryan Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein, both took part in half marathon tune-ups for their upcoming fall marathons.  Hall, who ran the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half, will be taking part in the Chicago Marathon on October 10 while Ritzenhein ran the Great North Run in England this weekend as a gauge of fitness for the ING New York City Marathon on November 7.

Ritzenhein and Hall race at the 2008 Olympic Trials (Yardbarker.com)

Hall disastrous in Philly

As the defending champ in the race formerly known as the Philly Distance Run, Ryan Hall had big expectations for the race.  In a pre-race interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, the former Stanford standout claimed that he is currently in much better form than the 61:52 shape he was in last year.

When it came time for the race, however, Hall was off the back from the start.  Leader and eventual winner Matthew Kisoro passed through 5k in a blistering 13:57 with most of the lead pack around 14:11-14:15, but Hall was far behind in 14:40.  At this stage, it appeared Hall might have played the first 5k conservatively in hopes of running others down over the ladder stages of the race.  This was not the case as he fell 1:28 behind the leaders by 10k and 2:25 by 10 miles.  Hall finished the race 63:55, almost four minutes behind Kisoro.

Hall’s race was extremely disappointing, especially considering his pace was much slower than what he needs to run if he wants to challenge the American record of 2:05:38.  With only three weeks left until Chicago, there isn’t a whole lot of time to put in more hard training.  If 63:55 is all that Hall is capable in the half marathon, things are looking grim.  However, it is much more likely that he simply had a bad day in Philly and will be ready to go in the Windy City.  Remember that Hall has been one of the world’s most consistent marathoners since his debut in 2007 and has been in the top four in each of his last three races.  Hall also has one of America’s best coaches in Terrence Mahon to guide him and make the proper adjustments in the little time he has left before race day on October 10.

Ritz disappointed with his Great North Run performance

After not racing for seven months, Dathan Ritzenhein returned to the roads at the Great North Run in Britain.  In a post on his official blog, Ritz came out of the race extremely disappointed about the way he ran the race.  Instead of running a pace that was more realistic for his fitness, Ritzenhein went out with the quick opening pace, coming through 5k at 14:09, but started feeling fatigued by the 10k mark. He also complained of pain in his calves resulting from wearing too minimalist of a racing shoe.

Ritz’s time of  62:35 wasn’t had he was looking for, it also isn’t bad considering the stage of training he is at.  After taking much of six months off with a mysterious foot ailment, the Colorado Buffalo alum has only been doing serious marathon training for 10 weeks.  With seven weeks still left until the New York City Marathon, Ritz and his coach Alberto Salazar will have plenty of time to sharpen his fitness and be prepared for the tough rolling terrain of the NYC course.

Tags: Chicago Marathon Dathan Ritzenhein Nyc Marathon Ryan Hall

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