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Athlete Spotlight: Jeff Hall

 

Husband, father, businessman and volunteer football coach, Jeff Hall might have hung up his cleats and football jersey but he still has his competitive edge. Moving from the football field to the road race course, he has made the switch from noted football player to endurance athlete look easy. Rocking racing flats now and training under Bobby Holcombe as a member of Knoxville Endurance, he has worked down his marathon best from 4 hours and 21 minutes to 3 hours and 53 minutes in only a year proving that hard work truly is the key to success.

Jeff Hall

1. Who is the tougher coach, Phillip Fulmer or Bobby Holcombe?

Coach was pretty intense, but I can hear Bobby yell at me from way off in the distance...that's pretty impressive.

 

2. Why or what brought you to join Knoxville Endurance?

Running has always been a part of my life. I remember going to races as a kid where my dad would run marathons, mom would run the 5k, 10k or half races and I would do the fun runs. Once I started playing football, though, we stopped going to as many races, but dad kept running. Dad turned 60 a few years ago and has completed 4 marathons since. Needless to say, I think I inherited a little of his passion for running. That said, a few years ago, I ran my first half in 1:46. After that, I decided I wanted to run a marathon in under 4 hours. After all, with a marathoner for a father, I should at least run one myself. About that time, I was in The Runners Market one day looking for shoes and Bobby and I struck up a conversation. During our talk, I realized I needed a coach. Working with Bobby was one of those choices I can look back on and say my life is better as a result.

 

3. What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running marathons?

Playing ball at the collegiate and professional levels comes with a level of intensity that's hard to recreate once your career is over. There's nothing quite like the feeling 30 minutes before a game when you think your head is going to explode. Running races, especially ones that you spend the longest time training for, give me a small taste of that feeling again.

 

4. What race are you most proud of and why?

2014 Knoxville Marathon, no question. 2013 Knoxville was my first and the race I originally wanted to tackle in 4 hours…a little aggressive with 4 months of training. At mile 19 I wanted to slam my head in a car door. I finished around 4:21. Thankfully, my wife reluctantly allowed me to train for another year and the next time I was passing people on James White Parkway (around mile 20). I finally had that "kick" at the end of a race that experienced runners always talk about it...very cool. I came in well below my initial goal.

 

5. What motivates you most during those last few miles?

The effort leading up to that point is what keeps me going. Life is short; all the hours spent training need not be wasted. My hot wife in her yoga pants giving me GUs every few miles helps, too.

 

6. As a volunteer football coach, what is one piece of advice you always make sure to tell your football players/young athletes?

 

I have three themes I try to continually reinforce with my players:

 

Keep your eye on the ball and finish the kick.

I'm not going to yell at you for missing a kick. I will, however, let you have it in front of God and man if you respond like a child.

As long as I'm helping you develop spiritually, emotionally and physically, I really don't care what your parents think.

 

7. Finish the sentence: I run therefore I'm balanced and life has structure.

 

8. What is your next race or your upcoming goal?

Shorter distance races with a general goal of getting a lot faster.

 

9. Any last words or wisdom or advice?

Dave Ramsey (the radio host) told me years ago, "Jeff, the beauty of balance is that it fills your tank." If we have a balanced life full of responsibilities and activities that we're passionate about, our batteries will always be charged. That's why some people get more out of life than others...they never get burned out.