By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Nathan Hall’s sixth run in the annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon was his best … ever.
The 34-year-old former Tupelo High School cross country and track coach covered the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 53 seconds last Saturday to finish 12th overall.
“My goal was to run a personal best,” said Hall, who is an assistant principal at Tupelo Middle School. “I was wanting to run between a 2:50 and a 2:55.”
His previous best clocking was a 2:56.01 on the same course. In Saturday’s run, he averaged a 6:41 pace per mile.
“I have always run well there,” he said. “The conditions were good. My times have dropped every time I’ve run there.”
Brian Shelton of Cookeville, Tenn., was the St. Jude champion with his 2:38.16 clocking.
Hall was on pace to run a 2:52 or 2:53, but says his legs “wouldn’t turn over” the final three miles.
“I was on pace for a better time,” he said. “I wish I could have run a little bit faster.”
Hall’s time was an improvement over his last marathon outing – a 3:32.17 29th-place finish in September in the Tupelo Marathon.
“My training wasn’t where it needed to be before that one,” he said. “I had been competing in triathlons.”
Hall’s next competition is scheduled for Jan. 7-8 in Orlando, where he will compete in the annual Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge – running a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.
Other high finishers from the area: Starkville’s Russ Patterson, 23, 64th (3:14:38) and Oxford’s Louis Abbott, 41, 78th (3:17:59).