Ryan Hall leads best-ever elite field at L.A. Marathon

Ryan Hall is the biggest name in a fast field for the Los Angeles Marathon. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The American elite field at the 2015 Asics L.A. Marathon will be the largest in 30 year history of the race as the hosts of the 2015 United States Track and Field Marathon Championships. Athletes also will test the course and the city as part of their own preparation for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2016, also to be held in Los Angeles.

“This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive fields in the history of the marathon,” LA Marathon CEO Tracey Russell said. “On both a national and international level, the breadth of talent is at an all-time high to set the stage for a historic race.”

Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner in history with his 2:04:58 at the windy 2011 Boston Marathon, was the first elite athlete announced for the year’s race. He will be joined by his wife Sara Hall, making her marathon debut.

After his 2:17:43 debut at the Chicago Marathon, Northern Arizona Elite runner Matt Llano looks to rebound in his second crack at the 26.2 mile distance. He will run the 2015 Houston Half Marathon in preparation for the race. His 61:47 personal best in the half marathon was set there last year.

“There's a big learning curve with a race that long, and even though I received advice from some of the world's top marathoners before Chicago, there's something to be said for lessons that resonate better through experience,” Llano told ESPN.com. “I've been channeling those lessons I learned in Chicago to optimize my training and set myself up for achieving the goals I have for 2015.”

Training partner Scott Smith will also race for the U.S. title after finishing third at last fall’s U.S. championship in Minnesota. 2014 U.S. marathon championship runner-up Jared Ward also plans on being the start line in February. Shadrack Biwott (2:12:55), Sergio Reyes (2:13:34), Patrick Rizzo (2:13:42) and Carlos Trujillo (2:14:21) round out the U.S. men’s elite field.

2014 LA Marathon runner-up Lani Rutto of Kenya (2:10:01) heads a field of 15 international runners that boast personal bests under 2:12:30.

Sara Hall will be challenged by Olympian Janet Bawcom, who finished a spot ahead of Hall at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston. Bawcom’s marathon personal best of 2:29:45 was set at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she finished fifth before going on run the 10,000 meters in the London Games.

Rising star Becky Wade burst onto the marathoning scene with a win at the 2013 California International Marathon, where she won in 2:30:41. An injury forced her to withdraw from the 2014 Chicago Marathon but she looks for a successful encore on California soil.

“As an Asics sponsored race and the USA Marathon Championships, the 2015 LA Marathon is very meaningful to me,” Wade told ESPN.com, “I’m excited to line up among the country’s best, try to improve on my 2013 marathon debut and gain some experience for the 2016 Olympic Trials.”

Former Romanian Olympian Nuta Olaru (2:24:33), Alissa McKaig, Heather Lieberg and Melissa White complete the U.S. championship contender list.

Ethiopians Misiker Mekonnin Demisse (2:25:21) and Konjit Tilahun Biruk (2:28:11) enter with the third and fourth fastest personal bests in the field respectively.

The total prize purse for the U.S. Championship will be $150,000, in addition to the $110,000 awarded to the winners in the overall field.