Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathon runner of all time, has retired from the sport at age 33, making the announcement four weeks before the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.
Hall, who has finished one marathon since the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials and struggled with health issues, is retiring due to “chronically low testosterone levels and fatigue so extreme … he can barely log 12 easy miles a week,” according to The New York Times.
“Up to this point, I always believed my best races were still ahead of me,” Hall said, according to the report. “I’ve explored every issue to get back to the level I’ve been at, and my body is not responding. I realized that it was time to stop striving, to finally be satisfied and decide ‘mission accomplished.”
Hall’s career highlight came at the 2011 Boston Marathon, where he clocked 2 hours, 4 minutes, 58 seconds, for the fastest 26.2 miles ever by an American. That fourth-place finish was not an American record though, as the Boston course is not record-eligible.
Since the 2012 trials, Hall dropped out of the London Olympic marathon with a hamstring injury. He withdrew before the starts of the 2012 New York City Marathon (eventually canceled), 2013 Boston Marathon and 2013 New York City Marathon, also citing injuries.
He finally started and finished a marathon at Boston 2014, but in an uninspiring 2:17:50, and then dropped out during the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon on March 15.
Hall also placed 10th at the Beijing Olympics, after winning the U.S. Olympic trials.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again throughout my career,” Hall said, according to the report. “I know what it’s like to fail at the biggest stage, like the Olympics. It’s a bummer, I don’t want to go through it, but I’m not afraid of it. And if you’re not afraid to fail, you’re not afraid to run against the best guys, and you’re not afraid to lose. I have so many failures throughout my career. But I needed them to have the success.”
The top favorites to make the U.S. Olympic team by finishing in the top three at the trials on Feb. 13 (live on NBC Sports) are three-time Olympians Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein.