LA Marathon/U.S. Marathon Champs - lowest point for U.S marathoning?


Jared Ward (who?) wins just under 2:13. Ryan Hall made it just past halfway before DNFing. Again. When was his last marathon finish? His career now feels as sad as Webb’s did when he was in the throes of his several-year-long futile struggle to be relevant again.

It still puzzles me how we can have improved so much at 5,000/10,000 and not have forced more guys up to the marathon and get a resulting increase in quality and depth at the marathon. Just the opposite has happened. I cannot remember any time when U.S. marathoning has been so disproportionately bad compared to the other distances. It’s a veritable wasteland right now, and I can’t see any clear reason why.


The US won’t be weak in the marathon for long. Jared Ward is a young guy who just finished his eligibility at BYU – his big win proves what success you can have when you prioritize the longer races early in your career, instead of waiting until all the speed has gone from your legs after 10 seasons of 5k/10k track competition. Remember how good Ryan Hall was early on in his career? He was a guy who focused on the marathon very early out of college.

If the US had 500 Jared Ward’s per year (guys focusing on the marathon just after they leave the junior ranks) instead of our current half dozen per year, we’d have quite a few sub-2:15 and even sub-2:10 or sub-2:08 guys. Kenya has 500 per year. We do so well at the middle distances and long track stuff because those races exist at the NCAA level. The US’ current depth of really strong young guys at 800 and 1500 can be directly traced back to an insane 2011 collegiate season in the middle distances. There is no amateur marathon factory in America the way there is for track. But once more 5k/10k guys catch on to Ward’s philosophy, the US will improve in the marathon.


A lot of fast guys are running Boston. It seems like we always have a few 2:11-2:13 guys on the verge of a breakthrough who never get there. The low point of US marathoning was probably 2000 when the loan US olympian was Rod Dehaven, the fastest American when none hit the A standard.


Jared Ward is not “young” nor did he “just leave the Junior ranks.” He’s 26. He left the Junior ranks 6-7 years ago.

That said, I completely agree that guys need to try the marathon much earlier in their career. The NAIA has the marathon as part of their national championships. I have half wondered if the NCAA shouldn’t consider the same thing, but limit participation to juniors and seniors or those, say, 21 or older or something.


I forgot about that. You’re absolutely correct. But that was also about the low point for US distance running in general and that was reflected in the marathon. That said, I was very happy for Dehaven. Good guy who got everything out of himself there was to get as far as I was concened. His talent was just a smidge outside what was needed at the highest level.


Could also considering adding a half instead of a full 26.2. Compromise of sorts.


Gee, if only Hall had a coach other than God…


he had some early success with self coaching, but I agree, at this point, he needs to make a change, maybe do some workouts or races he wouldn’t normally consider. It seems like he’s gotten ok with dnf’ing. Training with a group in Flag or Boulder, or Oregon could definitely help him get back to the top. Wasn’t he going to be coached by Canova? He could even move to Kenya or Ethiopia for a while and stay there, not just do his usual stints at altitude.


Though it’s true US marathoning hasn’t kept up with the 5000/10,000, it’s worth noting that the USATF championship race isn’t always on the top racers’ schedules, anyway.


I am in hospital for a bit will be reading and. Not much posting. It is hard for a young runner to committ to marathon because we do not have a robust national level program and even getting a comp entry is hard in the big city event marathon unless you are already a two twenty guy. We need a better series of national meets and half and full marathons I am having trouble using this device neoludditte that I am. Expect to be out of here early next week I Will be. Reading


Get well soon WT!!


QFE :slight_smile: