Endurance: Jason Hartmann

U.S. sets pro squad for Boston Marathon

January, 8, 2014
Amy HastingsAdrian Dennis/Getty ImagesTrack standout Amy Hastings will take to the roads in the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Shalane Flanagan will return to the Boston Marathon, and Dathan Ritzenhein will make his debut at the race this year, John Hancock, which organizes the pro fields for the race, has announced.

The strong U.S. squad for the April 21 marathon also includes Olympic marathoners Desiree Davila Linden and Meb Keflezighi, Olympic 10K runner Amy Hastings, and marathon stalwarts such as Serena Burla (2:28 personal record), Jason Hartmann (fourth place at the last two Bostons), Nick Arciniaga (2013 national marathon champion) and Brett Gotcher (fifth at 2012 Olympic Trials).

Flanagan, a native of nearby Marblehead, Mass., ran Boston for the first time last year, placing fourth in the race marred by twin bombings near the finish line that resulted in three fatalities (plus a fourth during the ensuing manhunt) and numerous injuries.

"It's hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete," Flanagan said. "In one word, I guess it would be 'pride'. I and many in the field will be fueled by those who were affected by the tragedy and will be running for those who cannot."

Although it will be Ritzenhein's first race on the Boston course, he should be well prepared for the route's unique challenges. His coach, Alberto Salazar, won the race in 1982. Ritzenhein should also benefit in his buildup from the fact that Oregon Project teammate Mo Farah will make his marathon debut in London eight days before Boston.

Ritzenhein's most recent marathon was a disappointing fifth-place, 2:09:45 finish in Chicago in October, a race where he was trying to lower the 2:07:47 PR he'd set there the previous year.

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Five big fall marathon takeaways

November, 11, 2013
There are marathons big and small still to come this fall, but with most of the mega races having been run, some trends in the sport are clear. Here are five takes on what we've seen this season.

1. Increased security is everywhere
"The new normal" has been this fall's buzzword at marathons, referring to the increased security at races across the country in the aftermath of the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Bag searches, bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors, pre-screening, automatic rifles, participant-only areas and other features common to civil aviation are in place at marathons like never before.

By most accounts, runners and spectators have accepted the new measures. Recreational and elite marathoners said after big races they ran without fear. Anecdotal reports from Chicago and New York City were that crowds along the course were as big as ever.

At the same time, races and runners have already started to talk about what level of security is appropriate moving forward. The New York Road Runners spent approximately $1 million on security for this year's race, about twice as much as was typical before Boston.

Runners doing their first marathon since Boston discovered the new procedures add time not only on race day. At packet pick-up the day before the Marine Corps Marathon, the line to get into the expo facility backed up into the hundreds at one point, and tempers flared.

The new measures also affected the larger community. Fences near the start and finish of Chicago made accessing the bike path along Lake Michigan challenging leading up to race day. One resident of Manhattan's Upper West Side reported having to show ID just to re-enter her block on the afternoon of the marathon. With municipalities already starting to push back against the ramifications of races, marathon organizers will need to work even harder to maintain good community relations.

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5 Questions with Jason Hartmann

April, 17, 2013
Jason Hartmann finished fourth in Monday's Boston Marathon, matching his place from last year's race. While the 32-year-old Boulder, Colo., resident agrees that his effort validated his race from 2012, when he persevered amid extreme heat, he says he won't be able to separate his own race memories from the horrific bombing events that happened a few hours later.

(It's important to note that only two U.S. men have placed higher than fourth since 1985 -- Meb Keflezighi was third in 2006 and Ryan Hall was third in 2009 -- and now Hartmann and Hall are the only American men to have finished fourth or higher in back-to-back years in Boston since Bill Rodgers and John Lodwick in 1981 and 1982.)

Hartmann says he's not sure what's next for him as a runner, but he took time to reflect on the tragedy that rocked Boston on Monday afternoon.

Where were you when the bombs went off?
I was in drug-testing inside the Fairmont hotel when it happened, so I never heard anything. Then I got to my room and was just kind of hanging out, responding to text messages to friends and then all of a sudden they weren't going through, and I thought that was kind of weird. That's when I turned on the TV and saw the news. That was about 3:30 and then immediately text messages started pouring in. The whole thing was surreal.

What is your reaction to it all?
It's just horrible, very surreal. We were in lockdown at the hotel all night and couldn't go anywhere. I was just hoping everyone was OK. It puts things in perspective as to what's important. The true heroes of the day were all of the first responders and everyone who was helping out in some way but aren't going to get their name in the paper. The way they responded was pretty amazing.

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Olympic bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang of Kenya and three-time Olympian Kim Smith of New Zealand will headline the international fields for the NYC Half on March 17. World Championships bronze medalist Bob Tahri of France will make his half-marathon debut and Sara Moreira, Portugal's newly crowned European Indoor Championships gold medalist, will run the NYC Half as her U.S. debut, it was announced Wednesday by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

RELATED: Stacked Fields Set For NYC Half

Previously announced runners for the NYC Half men's professional field include U.S. Olympians Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Dathan Ritzenhein and Bernard Lagat. Additional U.S. competitors include Jason Hartmann, the top American in the 2012 Boston Marathon, and Guor Marial, who ran the London Olympic Marathon under the flag of the IOC and will be running his first race as a U.S. citizen.

In the women's race, previously announced runners include Janet Bawcom, a 2012 U.S. Olympian at 10,000 meters, along with Americans Adriana Nelson, Maegan Krifchin, Molly Pritz, Stephanie Rothstein Bruce and Serena Burla.

-- Competitor.com