BOSTON, MA, November 18, 2008—In its 24th year as the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the signing of Olympic marathoner and American half marathon record holder Ryan Hall for the 113th running of the race on April 20, 2009.
The fastest American marathoner in 2007 and 2008, Hall has quickly proven himself as one of the best distance runners in the world. He seeks to become the first American winner of the race since Greg Meyer in 1983.
"I am grateful to have the opportunity to compete on the John Hancock elite team at the 2009 Boston Marathon," said Hall. "The Boston Marathon is the grand daddy of the World Marathon Majors, to win here would mean as much to me as winning any marathon in the world, including the Olympic Games. To win in Boston would show the world that American distance running is indeed back to the days of Salazar, Beardsley, and Rodgers. I hope that I can contribute to bringing American marathoning back to the forefront. There is no better place to do that than Boston. What is done in Boston lives on for all time."
A 2005 Stanford graduate and three-time All American, Hall quickly found his greatest potential on the roads. In late 2006, he set the American 20K record at the World Championships and in early 2007 broke the 21-year old American half marathon record at the U.S. Championships. His 59:43 win marked the first time an American had ever broken the one-hour barrier.
Turning to the marathon, Hall made his debut on the London course in 2007 and stayed with the African leaders until the final miles. His 2:08:24 was the fastest debut ever by an American. A few months later at the U.S. Olympic Trials, he set a course record as he cruised to a nearly two-minute lead over one of the best U.S. fields ever assembled.
Continuing his meteoric rise Hall returned to London in advance of the Olympics and ran a remarkable 2:06:17, making him the second fastest American of all time. At the Olympics Hall placed 10th, and although he had some disappointment in that showing, he is young and eager to build on his potential.
"Ryan's Boston Marathon debut will be a highly anticipated performance throughout the sports world," said Executive Director Guy Morse, of the Boston Athletic Association, which oversees the race. "As an American Olympian recruited by our principal sponsor John Hancock Financial, his commitment to race in Boston, combined with his record of outstanding performances are indicators that he will add great excitement to the 113th Boston Marathon as he challenges some of the world's best athletes on the world's most famous course."
Hall is married to professional runner Sara Bei Hall and the couple resides in Mammoth Lakes, California. The Halls are active with charitable groups such as Team World Vision. They worked on a campaign this year, "More Precious than Gold," that raised nearly a million dollars to help bring clean water wells and irrigation systems to poor communities in Zambia.