The 2011 Boston Marathon is celebrating its 115th running Monday morning, and as usual, it should be a thrilling and competitive race among the men's elite.
Kenya's Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, 22, should be the favorite, having won the race last year in 2:05:52, the fastest time ever recorded at Boston, and the fourth best time ever run in America. Other potential winners include Cheruiyot's countrymen, Evans Cheruiyot (eighth in 2009), Geoffrey Mutai (the second fastest marathon runner in the world in 2010) and Gilbert Yegon (ran a 2:06:18 in Amsterdam) and Ireland's Alistair Cragg. And of course, American Ryan Hall, one of the country's best distance runners ever, but an athlete who has not looked his best of late.
At the New York City Half Marathon in March, he placed 21st in a time of 1:03:53, slower than he passed the half way mark in Boston last year. None of which augurs well for Boston this year; though, neither does it count him out. Far from it. Hall is a man who runs on passion and inspiration and who has the ability to trade footsteps with the finest in the world, as he has shown many times. Certainly, he will need to draw on all of that on Marathon Monday; but, it would be a considerable mistake to count him out.
Hall, 28, finished fourth at Boston last year and third in 2009. In 2008, he won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon, with a time of (2:09:02; his personal best is 2:06:17). Monday will be his first marathon since Boston last year, and it will also be his first marathon since he left his coach Terrence Mahon.