Ryan Patrick Vail

Portland, Oregon

Personal Records:

  • Marathon 2:10:57
  • Half Marathon 1:02:04
  • 10mi road 47:13
  • 15km road 43:43
  • 10km 27:44.07
  • 5km 13:28.11
  • 3km indoor 7:52.17
  • 1500m 3:42.80
  • 5-time All-American at Oklahoma State University
  • Leader of the 2009 NCAA Cross Country National Champions (9th place finish)
  • Member of the 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2013 USA Cross Country Team
    • 33rd place finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Amman, Jordan)
    • 42nd place finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Bydgoszcz, Poland)
    • 17th place finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Bydgoszca, Poland) with a team Silver Medal. 
  • Top 6 finish in the following U.S. Championships:
    • 2005 USA Junior Cross Country Championships
    • 2009 USA Cross Country Championships
    • 2010 USA Cross Country Championships
    • 2010 Gate River 15km USA National Championships
    • 2011 Gate River 15km USA National Championships
    • 2011 USA Outdoor National Championships (10km)
    • 2011 USA Half-Marathon National Championships
    • 2012 Track and Field Olympic Trials 10km
    • 2013 USA Cross Country Championships
    • 2013 USA Track and Field Championships - 10km
    • 2013 Gate River Run (USA 15km Championships)
    • 2014 USA Track and Field Championships - 10km
    • 2015 Gate River Run (USA 15km Championships)
    • 2015 USA Track and Field Championships - 10km
  • 6th place 2012 Olympic Trials 10km
  • 3rd place Gate River Run (USA 15km Championships) 2013
  • 1st US finisher at the 2013 ING NYC Marathon (13th) in 2:13:30
  • 10th place 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon (2:10:57)
  • 3rd place USA Track and Field Championships - 10km
  • 9th place 2014 TCS New York City Marathon
  • 5th place 2015 USA Track and Field Championships - 10km
  • 8th place 2018 Berlin Marathon
  • High School - Centennial High School  (2000-2004)
  • Undergraduate - Oklahoma State University (2004-2008)
    • B.A. Political Science and Spanish
  • Graduate - Oklahoma State University (2008-2009)
    • M.S. International Trade and Development


  1. Awesome job Ryan. NY is a really tough course on a good day...
    I see lots of 200's in your program. I love them but many people don't do them for marathon. Why do you? I live at altitude (Costa Rica) and it's tough to get the turnover. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Hi Adam, sorry for the late response. I've only been back from vacation for a short time. It's nice to get some turnover in during marathon training both physically and mentally in the midst of so many longer, slower workouts. Doing them on hills is also a safe way to build strength as opposed to weight lifting. I have a deep suspicion, though, that my coach's real purpose for adding them in so often is to let me feel like I'm getting another workout in during the week, without actually doing a hard workout. I'm usually pushing him to allow me train harder, and then we come up with a compromise. I think this is his attempt to spread my workouts out during marathon training.

      How is it training in Costa Rica? At what elevation do you train?

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  3. Hey Ryan you're doing an awesome job, I'm looking forward to your race in London.
    I have read Alberto Salazar's book 14 Minutes (good read if you haven't already read it ) and he attributes the injuries he sustained at the end of his career to "not giving the marathon the proper respect." He essentially make the argument that once you move up to race in the marathon you shouldn't try to jump back on the track. He makes it sound like there's some sort of fundamental change in the athlete after the marathon that makes it impossible to race and not get hurt in the 10k and down. What's your opinion in this point of view? Has the marathon transformed you in some magical way, as Salazar suggests, or is it that he probably made errors in his training?

  4. Hey

    Marina here, from Airia Running (, the Swedish company behind the fastest running shoe - Airia One. It’s not just a marketing claim - rigorous testing shows that 8 out of 10 runners run faster in Airia One running shoes (shaving anywhere from 1% to 7% off their run time).

    But this email is not about that.

    I want to recruit you personally to run an independent test of Airia One. I’ll bribe you with a free pair. I also respectfully request that you do a write up about your run for your readers.

    Please try a long distance race to really feel the difference of running in Airia One. I’m emphasizing the racing part because it’s really important that you actually race in them. We spent decades engineering and designing Airia One to specifically be the best running shoe - and you are a runner and an early adopter. You are the real life chance to test our years of work. I am counting on you to push both yourself and Airia One to the limit.

    Please send your address and shoe size to get your free pair of Airia One.

    I really hope you take me up on this offer/challenge and have your best run ever.

    Kind regards,


  5. Hi Ryan,

    I read about your achievements in Matt Fitzgerald’s book ‘How Bad Do You Want It?’. I know I’m not the first to say this but your story is truly inspiring.

    I’m currently compiling a collection of photographs taken of athletes who are at the point of maximum effort. The collection is called ‘Athletes in Anguish’, and is celebrating the hard work that goes into the pursuit of athletic goals. It’s offering a different take on the “perfect” photos that are circulated on social media these days and I hope it will serve as inspiration to other athletes looking to push themselves.

    I would love to include you in this collection, and was wondering if you had a photo of yourself that meets this criteria which you would be willing to share with me?

    If you’re interested, please send across a picture with a few lines of context. The collection should be published online towards the end of May and I’ll keep you posted when it’s live if you’d like to be featured.

    Best wishes :) -- Cameron