celebrity marathoners, Apolo Anton Ohno hanging up his skates and Lance Armstrong trading his tires for shoes, the sport has enjoyed an increasingly growing spotlight. Yet aside from the already high-profile personas taking to the streets, there are the elite runners who have long defined the medium, gaining a popularity and profile of their own.
Ryan Hall, the 30-year old Olympian from Big Bear Lake, CA, has already set himself aside as a fierce and speedy competitor. With a sly grin and easy demeanor, he's basically the closest thing the world has to a genuine Wally West. In 2000 he set the course record at Mt. SAC, a record I watched as a high school junior along with hundreds of other cross country kids who could only stare in awe as he flew across the finish line.
Now a returning competitor on the USA Men's Olympic Marathon team (a spot he's earned twice over), Ryan and his wife, Sara Bei, have founded the Hall Steps Foundation, a charitable initiative that will fund programs to create a better life for youth living in poverty in the USA and abroad (remember when I compared him to Wally West?), such projects include the commitment of thousands of dollars to help complete construction of a new hospital in Kenya's Rift Valley in the home village of Wesley Korir- one of Hall's fellow elites.
Aside from being super speedy and an all-around nice dude, Hall also has a sense of humor. Watch below as he races against himself (and a group of school kids) in a recent ASICS ad:
Oh, and one last thing...he's now the subject of a new documentary, 41st Day, attempting to complete its funding through Kickstarter, which follows his journey from the 2012 Houston Olympic Trials all the way to this summer's London Olympics. Dreamt up and realized by Tim Jeffereys, 41st Day has been in production since early this year and Hall has allowed the production a rare glimpse into his life as a runner and his life as a man. Feeling anthropological? Head over to their Kickstarter page and pledge a few bucks. Help keep running in the spotlight!
Need more marathon media? Block out and hour and forty-two minutes and watch Spirit of the Marathon.