LetsRun did its analysis of/prediction for Boston. In reference to Bill Rodgers, it has something worth setting out separately.

A topic of discussion around LRC’s central offices this morning was about how people (well, at least people we know, including ourselves) limit themselves. With the emergence of Kenyans and Ethiopians on the running scene, it’s very easy to see the dropoff in American and European performances in distance running. Africans win the distance races. They run fast. They break the world records and run amazing times. They DOMINATE. But look at Cheruiyot. Is he THAT much better than little old Bill Rodgers? Yeah, he’s better, but if we take Rodgers and make him born in 1978, he’s almost as good as Cheruiyot if you go by the numbers.

We think, and this is one of the main reasons we do this site in the first place, that more people need to unfetter themselves from limits, need to dream big! Take away some of the science and history and expectation and just try to run like the best runners in the world. It’s certainly easier to grow up Ethiopian and see your countrymen beating everyone in the world and thinking: “I can do that,” than it is to be American and have very few real winners and champions to look up to. We think that’s one reason Ryan Hall does what he does, because he just runs with such unbridled joy and doesn’t worry too much about what his limits are (this is the same Ryan Hall who could not, for the life of him, break 4:00 for the mile while at Stanford; who would have predicted his marathon and half marathon success?).

This year could be a great year to make a new hero and inspire Americans to new heights (or old heights, like the heights Rodgers reached in the ’70s). While Boston Billy hopefully will complete Boston again, hopefully an hour ahead of him will be Ryan Hall putting the finishing touches on an amazing (even if he doesn’t win) Boston Marathon performance that millions will be able to see. Even if he doesn’t end up beating Cheruiyot, we’re pretty confident Hall will make a race of it, and just that should be enough to show American athletes that they too can run with the best in the world at the ultimate distance.