A very conservative tempo was set in the early miles of the men's race, hitting miles in the mid-4:40s throughout. The lead pack began to break up after 10K, leaving Hall of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. to battle Kenya's Ben Limo, Samuel Ndereba and Valentine Orare. Limo and Ndereba set much of the tempo over the second half of the race, continuing the consistent pace at 4:44-45 for each mile.
Hall (photo left, CGI) surged at mile 12 running a 4:27 split to break away from three Kenyans, taking the lead outright into the final straightaway. The 2008 U.S. Olympian looked smooth as he waved to the crowd across the finish line, taking his first half-marathon win of the year.
"It was tough competition but a beautiful course," said Hall, the U.S. half-marathon record holder (59:43). "Since I've been training for the marathon distance, it was hit or miss on my pace - but my legs felt great through the last mile, and overall, I thought it was a fantastic race."
Early on in the women's race it was a group of four women, including six-time winner Ndereba, Ethiopian Derartu Tulu and Kenyans Irene Limika and Neriah Asiba that assumed control of the race. Like the men, the women ran very consistent over the bulk of the race, hitting 10K in 33:05 and 15K in 49:48.
Ndereba and Limika pulled away from the other women around the 15K mark and continued to run together for the remainder of the race. Ndereba, 37, was able to gain a slight lead before the turn to the finish and held off Limika by a narrow three second margin, 1:09:43 to 1:09:46.
"It has been a 7-year gap since my last win in Philadelphia and after living here for 15 years, it is nice to win at home," said Ndereba, a two-time Olympic Marathon silver medalist.
2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist Constantina Dita found herself out of the race early on. Dita finished a distant tenth, but is looking forward towards her next race, "I really felt it today, I've been doing a lot of interval training on the track, today's race shows me I still have a lot of work to do before my next marathon."
The historic road race, known for its running legacy that includes five World and three U.S. records, will continue the tradition in 2010 as the ING Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon and will take place on Sunday, September 19, 2010.
"We are thrilled to be making next year's run part of the Rock 'n' Roll series," said Mike Smith, CEO, ING US Legacy Annuity. "This change will broaden the appeal of the race and provide more people with the experience of this exciting race format, as well as offering our employees the ability to further spread the ING message."
32nd ING Philadelphia Distance Run
Philadelphia, PA, Sunday, September 20, 2009
1) Ryan Hall (USA / CA), 1:01:52, $4000
2) Samuel Ndereba (KEN), 1:01:56, $2000
3) Benjamin Limo (KEN), 1:02:01, $1500
4) Valentine Orare (KEN), 1:02:22, $1000
5) Mike Sayenko (USA / WA), 1:05:04, $1150
6) Josh Cox (USA / CA), 1:05:09, $300
7) Andrew Dumm (USA / VA), 1:05:41, $200
8) Lee Troop (AUS), 1:05:42
9) Joel Mwaura (KEN), 1:05:47
10) Mike McKeeman (USA / PA), 1:05:59, $100
1) Catherine Ndereba (KEN), 1:09:43, $3500
2) Irene Limika (KEN), 1:09:46, $2000
3) Neriah Asiba (KEN), 1:10:26, $1500
4) Derartu Tulu (ETH), 1:10:33, $1000
5) Hellen Kimutai (KEN), 1:10:43, $750
6) Evelyn Lagat (KEN), 1:12:25
7) Karolina Jarzynska (POL), 1:12:27
8) Kirsten Fryburg (USA / CO), 1:13:52, $500
9) Samia Akbar (USA / DC), 1:14:06, $400
10) Constantina Dita (ROU), 1:14:47
Complete results at: www.runphilly.com