Tag: Asics Los Angeles Marathon

RYAN HALL ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Ryan Hall, Meb, Abdi at the point
Ryan Hall, Meb, Abdi at the point

The end of an era is upon us.  And it is hard to believe, really. Ryan Hall announced his retirement from competitive athletics today at the still tender age of 33, leaving all who followed his career, whether as fans or reporters, feeling a little bit emptier upon hearing the news.

It seems like only yesterday that Ryan flew into our consciousness as one of the avatars of a new era of American running excellence. Along with Class of 2000 mates Alan Webb and Dathan Ritzenhein, Ryan Hall took on the world, giving as good as he got, inserting himself at the front of the pack while exciting American distance running to a pitch not felt in years. There were times — Houston `07, Olympic Trials/New York ’07, Boston `11 — when his flowing stride produced results that were downright breathtaking.

Now, at age 33, the Big Bear, California native has announced he is retiring from professional running as chronically low testosterone levels have hollowed out his legendary endurance and stripped away his most elegant speed. (more…)

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BIG 3 DOWN TO 1

Ritz pulls away from Webb at 2000 Foot Locker XC
Ritz pulls away from Webb at 2000 Foot Locker XC. Ryan Hall in a distant third.

When high school seniors Dathan Ritzenhein, Alan Webb, and Ryan Hall met at the 2000 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in Orlando, Florida, America’s running fans were all but salivating at the prospect of what lie ahead, not just in Orlando, but in the careers to come.  All three precocious talents had flashed early signs of excellence on a register America hadn’t seen in a generation.  Now, on December 9, 2000 on the Walt Disney World Shades of Green Golf Course, the Big Three from Michigan, Virginia and California would match up head-to-head-to-head for the first time.

Temps were high that day for the boy’s race, humidity, too.  Just the same, talk of a sub-4:30 opening mile and a sub-9:00 deuce buzzed over the internet chat rooms as regional fan bases built cases for their respective heroes.

As undefeated returning champion, Rockford High School senior Dathan Ritzenhein’s game was pressure.  And after an initial 4:46 mile, the whip strong Michigander applied it unsparingly.

Pulling away from a shocked Alan “I’m ready for anything” Webb with a 4:33 second mile, Ritz went on to win that 5K battle and notch a historic second straight Foot Locker national title. His 20 second margin of victory put a hard shine on it, as it was, and remains, the largest gap in Foot Locker history. The Virginia miler held strong for second, while the California cruiser Ryan Hall showed third in the high Florida humidity (Ryan’s future wife Sara Bei went from last to first to win the 2000 girl’s Foot Locker title).

Over the ensuing 15 years the Big Three, as they came to be known, have gone on to author memorable, historic performances as records have been set, Olympic teams made, though none has yet to cop an Olympic medal. But as we enter the spring of 2015, only Dathan Ritzenhein is still exploring the outer limits of his youthful running promise. (more…)

AARON BRAUN READY FOR HIS CLOSEUP IN L.A.

Aaron Braun
Aaron Braun

Los Angeles, Ca. — Three American men have taken home the Asics Los Angeles Marathon title in its 28 years, Rick Sayre in the inaugural 1986, Mark Plaatjes in 1991, and rabbit-going-the-distance Paul Pilkington in 1994.  And while we already know that an American man will win in L.A. in 2016, that title will go to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion, an event recently awarded to the City of Angels.  No, like every other race in the world, it seems, the Asics Los Angeles Marathon has starred a primarily Kenyan cast, as their men have taken home 14 of the last 15 L.A. stagings. But this year, though there is another well-matched gathering of East Africans on hand, Kenyan and Ethiopian, an American man is actually among the nominees for the L.A. Marathon podium.  Which step on that podium? That, my friends, is why they actually run the race, to answer just that sort of question. 

“Oh, yeah, I feel ready,” said Alamosa, Colorado’s Aaron Braun as he sat in the Presidential Suite of the glamorous Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A., which doubles this week as the marathon’s invited athlete suite.  “You never know what can happen, but I definitely feel super fit and really ready.”

Hearing such talk from a runner of any nationality is disorienting.  We generally don’t hear such potent positivity from anyone in this sport of rampant over-achievers, but timid under-staters, much less from an American making his marathon debut.  But 26 year-old Aaron Braun has thought through this effort, and when you are ready, you are ready, even though L.A. wasn’t his first choice for a maiden voyage over the long distance. (more…)

L.A. MARATHON CEO STILL AWAITING OLYMPIC TRIALS DECISION

Asics L.A. Marathon CEO Tracey Russell
Asics L.A. Marathon CEO Tracey Russell

     ASICS Los Angeles Marathon CEO Tracey Russell is still settling into her new position out west, having moved from her leadership of the Atlanta Track Club last June to take the reins at L.A.’s premier endurance event.  But as often happens on the roads of L.A., Ms. Russell has found herself nudging from one lane of responsibility to the next as the rush hour of marathon season begins to take hold.

So even as the Cleveland, Ohio native tries to figure out which of her things she had shipped out from Atlanta will work in the home she just purchased in L.A., she and her staff continue gearing up for the 29th running of the marathon on March 9th while anxiously awaiting the final decision by USATF whether L.A. or Houston will host the U. S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.

“I had to unplug from work for about 24-hours,” she laughed during a phone call from her office near downtown L.A.  “All my stuff was coming from Atlanta in boxes, and it was a little crazy. But I’m back at work now, and registration for the marathon is tracking well ahead of last year, so we will have a sell-out.  We are working on our pro field now and the Olympic Trials.  We also hired a new brand strategy VP, and he and Nick (Curl, race director) are working on TV.”

While previous rights owners of the L.A. Marathon were content with staging a national-quality event in their world-class city, current rights owner Frank McCourt, and the city itself, has an eye cast toward a larger target.  (more…)

OLD FRIEND TEACHING ME NEW WAYS

Larry Rosenblatt in Boston 2011
Larry Rosenblatt in Boston 2011

     I’m a racing purist, clinging to sport as the road to salvation.  Yet even I am susceptible to a good story from the back of the pack.  Last weekend at the Asics L.A. Marathon an old friend from the shoe wars days of the 1970s and `80s ran the L.A. Marathon as the first leg of a four marathons in nine weeks effort to raise funds and awareness for a family back east who lost both its parents during the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. (more…)

A STAR IS BORN – ASICS L.A. MARATHON 2013

Aleksandra Duliba in LA Marathon spotligh
Aleksandra Duliba Shines in L.A. Marathon spotlight

     Los Angeles, CA. — Aleksandra Duliba isn‘t the first, nor will she be the last blond to seek fame and fortune in Los Angeles.  After all, it is the city of dreams.  But the dream came to life today for the 27 year-old marathon debutant from Minsk, Belarus as she won the 28th Asics Los Angeles Marathon, captured the $50,000 Gender Challenge bonus for crossing the finish line ahead of any man on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, and set a Belarus national marathon record, 2:26:06 in the process. Mexican born Kenyan Erick Mose captured the men’s title in a PR 2:09:44 ahead of fellow Kenyan Julius Keter who also ran to a new PR (2:10:32).

“She made all four of her goals,” said Duliba’s manager, Andrej Baranov.  “So what’s next?” (more…)

WOMEN CONTROL THEIR FATE AT LA MARATHON GENDER CHALLENGE

Los Angeles, CA. — Last year the men dawdled through the early stages of the Asics Los Angeles Marathon, and it cost them a chance at the $100,000 Gender Challenge bonus that goes to the first runner across the finish line in Santa Monica. This year defending men’s champion Simon Njoroge of Kenya (2:12:11) promises to engage early and bring that bonus back to Nyahururu, his home base in the Rift Valley province.  (more…)