Athlete quotes - 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon


Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

Ryan Hall (1st, 2:09:02, Olympic Trials record): Today was a dream come true for me. I've been dreaming about this moment for 10 years. But as great as the moment is, my heart and my thoughts are with Ryan Shay and his family. I'm just thrilled with the day the Lord gave me and thrilled to be part of this Olympic team. I was thinking about the Olympics when I was out there on that last lap and the fitness it will take. I thank all of you for celebrating this with us. I thought the weather was really good. I didn't feel the wind too much out there, especially in the Park. It was much cooler than my experience at London. I thought it was a great day to run. Hopefully Dathan and I moving up to the marathon at an earlier age will encourage other people to move up. You respond better to nagging injuries and don't get banged up as much. When you start out at 5:3 pace and then you get into the 4:30s, it's harder than starting at that pace and holding. I was surprised at how easy some of those splits felt. It was kind of like Houston [USA Half-Marathon Championships, where he set the American record.] I was feeling really good, really fresh. Coach gave me phenomenal workouts to do. I was very well prepared out there. I didn't expect to run this fast on this course, especially after previewing it. I didn't care how fast we ran the first half, I wanted to close fast. It was a good run for me. I was trying not to get too excited too early, but I saw myself achieving my goal in the last lap. The last mile, I knew I was going to be OK. I know I can run considerably faster. There's definitely more gears in there. I'll get to test those in Beijing.

Dathan Ritzenhein (2nd, 2:11:06PR): What an amazing event today. It was incredible out there. I've never seen a crowd like that other than running the [ING New York City] marathon last year. It kept building and building every time we came around. Every lap, it just got crazy. I couldn't even hear myself think at points. I'm just excited and happy. This was a training session full of obstacles. It was a lot harder than my training last time. I had a lot of interruptions. I'm just so happy how things came out. We have an amazing team. My hat's off to Ryan. That time is amazing on that course. It's a very emotional experience for me. I had a very difficult time at the Olympics [in Athens, when he dropped out of the 10,000m]. This is incredible for me. It was an emotional release, more than anything. We put in so much effort to this that it's difficult to express how it feels after two hours-plus of that effort and seeing the fruits of that labor. It's the first time my daughter has got to see me race, and it was an amazing experience for me.

Brian Sell (3rd, 2:11:40): It's been 13 years in the making for me, so this is one of the greatest days of my life aside of the birth of my daughter. The future of distance running looks great with these guys. They're tough in the marathon, and they're young. The future looks bright. The original plan was to let the field determine the pace for the first couple of miles. When we were out in 11 flat for two miles, I knew I Had to keep it honest to have a chance at all. Honestly, I was trying to run around 5 flat [per mile]. I didn't have too many miles above 5 flat. That tells you how fast these guys were up front. I was just fortunate to pick up the carnage from these two. I was just trying to keep relaxed until the last lap, then attack. When I saw them with a lap to go, I just didn't want to go too hard. I'm just happy I timed it right.

Alan Culpepper (DNF): I'm proud of these guys that they stepped it up. I'm very happy for them and I am very impressed with the performance, especially Ryan. I looked at some of the mile splits and honestly, I was blown away. I think he could run 3 minutes faster on a standard marathon course. Within four miles, both of my hamstrings, I had the same sensation I usually get with 4 miles to go. I was baffled. I kept trying to work through it, but I just never felt right.

Meb Keflezighi (8th, 2:15:09): Like Alan said, I'd like to congratulate the top 3 finishers. I hope they go on to Beijing to represent our country at the highest level they can. It's going to be different than today but hopefully they'll get it done. For me, it was rough. I love New York. They were telling me I love you Meb. I cried. I'm not 24. I would like to have made the team. At about 1:19, both of my calves cramped up. My breathing was great, but I couldn't go on.