White American Runner Top Seed In Boston Marathon
April 20, 2009, 09:52 PM
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For the first time in years, an American is the top seed in the Boston Marathon: Ryan Hall.

Hall was born and raised in Big Bear Lake, a Southern California ski resort town set at an altitude of 6,750 feet, similar to that of the home regions of many of his Kenyan competitors. (Some Ethiopian runners are from even higher altitudes.)

The Washington Post reports:

Hall's task will be formidable, with three-time defending champion and four-time Boston winner Robert Cheruiyot competing, along with Evans Cheruiyot, who won the Chicago Marathon last fall in 2:06:25, and Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, who ran 2:07:21 to win the 2008 Frankfurt Marathon in his debut.
Yes, many of the top Kenyan runners are related (they mostly come from the Kalenjin tribe that only makes up about one-tenth of the population of Kenya), but the ridiculous similarity of names among Kenyan runners is, I think, mostly intentional: teenage boys pick out running names for themselves to compete under as tributes to their heroes. Presumably, taking a phony name also helps in qualifying for the World Junior Cross-Country championships when overage by muddying the waters.