I wasn’t a big Ryan Hall fan before going down to watch this year’s Boston. I didn’t really know that much about him. But I was impressed by the way he came flying past our spot on Commonwealth Ave with something between a grin and a grimace. I was also impressed by what I saw of him in tape of the post-race press conference. He stood up to reporters’ questions that suggested maybe he was having too much fun in the race. His response: the day’s plan was for freedom and joy… and, being Ryan Hall, he knit that up with what the Lord intended for him.

Usually a Christian athlete wearing his religion on his sleeve makes me turn and run the other way, though probably with slower splits than Ryan Hall. But his comments in the press conference and in another video on Runner’s World didn’t really put me off. In the latter, he speaks a lot about wanting to perform well in races so people can see god acting through him, and also that one of his greatest pleasures in running is feeling this force working through him. For me, the overall effect was less of a Bible thumper than of a New England Transcendentalist — Emerson or Thoreau. Clearly, Ryan Hall’s got a Christian god in mind with a big fat capital J. But on a more fundamental level, he’s talking about a force of nature, divinity, spirit that is harder to define, but is something that raises the performance of an athlete or an artist when they reach outside of themselves or dig deep within themselves. That I can get behind.

So, I’ll leave it at “Ole, Ryan!” because there was definitely something working through you as you busted down beneath the Mass Ave overpass bound for Hereford Street. Watch the video of him training in Mammoth and you’ll get ¬†what that “Ole” — think bullfight — is about.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbKp2HeUpkY

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The Slushie Secret

April 27, 2010

Looks like I’ll be starting my July workouts down at the Cumberland Farm’s “Chill Zone.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/health/nutrition/27best.html

The Run for New Americans, a 5-kilometer fun run to benefit the English Speakers of Other Languages Program at Burlington High School, will be held at noon on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The course is a fast and accurate 5K primarily on the Burlington Bike Path with the beginning and ending sections of the race within the North Beach Campground.

Registration: Race-day from 11 to 11:45 in the front lobby of Burlington High School. All proceeds of the $8 entry fee will support the BHS ESOL program.

Race format: This is a low-key fun run on a course that is accurately measured with the one-mile and two-mile points marked. Times will be called out at the end of the race, but places and times will not be recorded.

Prizes: There will be awards for the first male and first female finisher. Other prizes will be raffled off among all finishers.

More information: aweav92@gmail.com