"Sure, God made the universe," Jake Mooney noted in this space back before the Olympics started, "but can he coach an American marathoner to Olympic gold?"
Nope, or at least not this one. Ryan Hall, who had attracted attention both for being one of the better American marathoners over the past few years and for being, let's say, "uniquely spiritual," or, actually, let's go with, "intensely religious to the detriment of his athletic career," crapped out of the men's marathon in London this morning at mile 11 with tightness in his
right hamstring. Gold went to Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. The only US runner to finish, Mebrahtom Keflezighi, came in fourth.
Hall split with his (non-eternal) running coach in 2010 and actually improved afterward; that year, he became the first American to run a a sub-2:05 marathon. Hall has said that God sometimes speaks to him, and indeed, tells him pretty specific times and distances to run during his training. He's struggled with the contrast between his own competitive edge and the Christian themes of compassion and forgiveness, and told the New Yorker in 2008, "I just have a hard time seeing Christ being competitive."
As for today's disappointment, Hall is bummed but unshaken:
God was unavailable for comment.