America’s fastest marathoner puts an end to his self-coaching experiment.
On Monday afternoon, Ryan Hall announced on he and his wife Sara’s blog that he is now under the tutelage of legendary coach Jack Daniels, thus ending a near 4-year self-coaching stint during which the 2:04:58 marathoner said he was letting his Christian faith inspire and guide his training and racing decisions.
“I am thrilled to be working with Jack as my coach,” Hall wrote. “It has been a fun ride over the last couple of years being self-coached and I have learned a lot, but I feel like I am back in my old ‘sophomore self’ shoes, looking forward to soak[ing] up everything Jack has to say. Jack has already played an influential role in my development as a runner, as well as [with] hundreds and thousands of others and I am confident he can help me get back to my full potential as a marathon runner. With the Olympic Trials just a year and a half away it’s time to start making progress towards my main goal as an athlete, to return to the Olympics and be at my very best there. This is something that has eluded me the last two Olympics but I am hopeful and expectant for the next years ahead with Jack’s guidance.”
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Hall, who has dealt with a string of nagging injuries and inconsistent racing results over the past three years, ran 2:04:58 to finish fourth at the 2011 Boston Marathon (the fastest time ever run by an American, but it doesn’t qualify as the American record because of the downhill, point-to-point nature of Boston’s course) and finished second to Meb Keflezighi at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Houston. Since the 2012 Trials, he’s only finished one marathon, placing 20th in 2:17:50 at this past April’s Boston Marathon. While being self-coached, he and wife Sara have led a nomadic existence, mostly bouncing between Flagtaff, Ariz., and Redding, Calif., and even training in Ethiopia this past spring prior to Boston. It is expected Hall will be based in Flagstaff, where both he and Daniels own homes, and continue preparations for a possible fall marathon.
A 2005 Stanford graduate, Hall achieved some of his best successes as a professional under coach Terrance Mahon as a member of the Mammoth Track Club from 2005-2010. In 2007, Hall became the only American ever to break 60 minutes for the half marathon, setting a still-standing American record of 59:43. Later that spring, Hall placed seventh in the London Marathon, running 2:08:24, the fastest marathon debut ever by an American. That November, he dominated the U.S. Olympic Trials at New York City’s Central Park, winning in a Trials record 2:09:02. And the following April, he ran 2:06:17 at the London Marathon, pacing fifth in the second-fastest time ever run by an American and the fastest time ever run by an American-born citizen. After third and fourth place finishes at the Boston Marathon in 2009 and 2010, Hall split from Mahon and left the Mammoth Track Club and has been largely self-coached since, minus a brief stint at the end of 2012 when he briefly worked with famed Italian coach Renato Canova.
Daniels, 81, has worked with a dozens of Olympic athletes over the course of his storied coaching career and authored the best-selling book, Daniels’ Running Formula, now in its third edition. Best known for his collegiate coaching success at SUNY Cortland, where he guided 30 individual Division III NCAA national champions, eight NCAA national team champions and 130 All-Americans over the course of 17 years, Daniels is now in his second year coaching the men’s and women’s cross-country teams at Wells College in Aurora, New York.