5 Things You Should Know About Me: Ryan Vail
Persuaded that he would meet with more success on a cross-country course than he would on a football field, Ryan Vail became a standout runner for Centennial High School in Gresham, OR, before heading to Oklahoma State University. There, he led the Cowboys to the 2009 NCAA cross-country title and met his future wife, teammate Eva Tomankova; after graduation they headed to her native Czech Republic so that she could attend graduate school in Prague. Upon their return to the United States 18 months later, Vail made his marathon debut at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where he finished 11th in 2:12:43. He improved his personal best to 2:11:45 later that year in Fukuoka. So far, 2013 has been a stellar year for the 27-year-old, who placed third in the 15K U.S. championships and helped the United States to its first IAAF World Cross Country silver medal since 1984 before notching a 10,000-meter personal best of 27:44:05 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational—still the third-fastest time by an American this year. And that’s not to mention starring in his first film. He’s hoping for good reviews in his ING New York City Marathon debut on November 3.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg