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Monday, 21 December 2020 20:49

HALL, HEHIR ACE THE MARATHON PROJECT AND LAND ON U.S. ALL-TIME LISTS

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CHANDLER, Arizona -- Sara Hall came tantalizingly close to besting Deena Kastor’s American women’s record and seven men broke 2:10 in a remarkable day of racing Sunday morning at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona.

The race aired live on USATF.tv+. Watch a condensed 90-minute replay later tonight (December 20) at 8pm EST on NBCSN.
 
Running on a custom-made course that featured a 4.26-mile loop and flawlessly flat footing, Hall (Santa Rosa, California) was under American record pace for much of the race before finishing in 2:20:32 to become the No. 2 American woman ever at the distance. That was almost 90 seconds better than Hall’s previous personal record of 2:22:01, set in finishing second at London 11 weeks ago.
 
Giving himself a great birthday present, albeit one day late, medical student Martin Hehir (Washingtonville, New York) broke away from a large pack to take the lead late in the men’s race, gritting it out over the final mile to clock 2:08:59. That made the 28-year-old Syracuse grad the No. 7 U.S. men’s performer all-time and chopped 2:30 off the personal record he set in finishing sixth at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta in February in his marathon debut.
 
Six more men also recorded big personal records behind Hehir, led by runner-up Noah Droddy (Indianapolis, Indiana, who moved to ninth on the all-time U.S. performer list with his 2:09:09. The previous highest number of American men to run sub-2:10 in a single race was four at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Houston.

Third went to Colin Bennie (Princeton, Massachusetts) in 2:09:38, well below the 2:12:14 that earned him a ninth-place finish at the Trials in Atlanta in his debut. Scott Fauble (Golden, Colorado), who was seventh at Boston last year in 2:09:09 on the aided course, placed fourth in 2:09:42, while Ian Butler’s (Lakewood, Colorado) 2:09:45 in fifth lopped more than six minutes off his lifetime best. Scott Smith (Laguna Nigel, California) trimmed more than a minute off his PR with a 2:09:46 in sixth, and Mick Iacofano (Medina, Ohio) destroyed his personal record with a 2:09:55 that was more than eight minutes faster than his previous best.
 
A pack of 14 men passed the halfway point in around 64:30, with Colin Mickow (Princeton, Illinois), Droddy and Jared Ward (Kaysville, Utah) the top Americans, but only by a whisker. The pace had quickened marginally over the second 10K, dropping to 4:55 a mile. Over the next few miles the pack started to subtly stretch out as the runners felt the effects of a quick pace, but 11 men were still within a second or so of the leaders.
 
Slowing slightly for a couple miles, the pack got tighter again before the pace went back to 4:55 a mile. 30K went by in 1:31:44 for the group of 10. Hehir took over the lead after the 35K mark and was two strides ahead of Smith, with Droddy and the rest of the remaining pack five meters adrift. Hehir continued to surge ahead, increasing the gap to 20 meters heading into the final 5K. Droddy gamely chased Hehir and solidified his position in second place, 10 seconds back at 40K, but Hehir didn’t yield much as the pair drew within a mile of the finish. Laboring as he headed into the final turn, Hehir looked back and saw Droddy inching back up to him, but never relinquished his lead.
 
Hall and Kellyn Taylor (Sussex, Wisconsin) dropped the women’s field less than 10-minutes into the race and went  through the 10K in 33:03. Zooming past the half in 69:38, Hall was a few strides ahead of Taylor as both women continued to run faster than American record pace. Keira D’Amato (Oakton, Virginia) was just over two minutes behind the lead duo, all alone in third with a 28-second gap back to Stephanie Bruce (Phoenix, Arizona) and Emma Bates (Elk River, Minnesota).
 
Hall’s lead increased to 17 seconds at 25K as Taylor dropped off a bit from American record pace, with D’Amato creeping up to within 1:55 of Taylor. The next 5K saw Hall extend her lead to 1:08 over Taylor as she hit 30K in 1:39:22, and D’Amato chopped off more time behind Taylor to move within 1:24 of the second-placer.
 
Hanging on to her American record pace, Hall passed 35K in 1:56:09, 2:29 ahead of Taylor, who was being caught by D’Amato, another 11 seconds behind. A record faded from view during the final miles with Hall dropping off that pace but maintaining her sizable lead past 40K in 2:13:06. D’Amato took over second and was 2:39 behind Hall, a margin that shrank to 2:24 at the finish as D’Amato finished off a year of personal record with a 2:22:56 that put her No. 7 on the all-time U.S. performer list.
 
Taylor held on to clock 2:25:22 in third, 18 seconds ahead of Bates, who was just off the personal record she set to take fourth at Chicago last year.
 
Final results can be found here.
 
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