American Jason Hartmann finished fourth in yesterday's Boston Marathon. He was the only runner not from Kenya inside the top six and proved he still has plenty of potential despite some trying times earlier in the year.
He struggled at the Olympic trials and it appeared he would never reach his running peak, but a strong showing at one of the year's marquee events illustrates that he can still be a contender. The Colorado native finished the race in two hours, 14 minutes and 31 seconds.
While the time was three minutes off his personal best, it might have been his best performance ever when you consider the heat factor. Temperatures soared in Boston, making the race as much of a mental battle as anything else.
Depending champion Geoffrey Mutai had to drop out more than eight miles from the finish due to the conditions, which illustrates exactly how difficult it was to finish the race, let alone post a reasonable time against elite competition.
Was the Boston Marathon Hartmann's best race?
Hartmann should still have plenty of good years of running ahead of him at 31 years old, so perhaps his terrific finish in Boston will give him the confidence boost to succeed moving forward.
American runners haven't had much success keeping up with their dominant Kenyan counterparts in recent years, but Hartmann didn't back down from the challenge.
Notably absent was Ryan Hall, who's the most popular name among American long-distance runners right now. He continues to prepare for the Olympics. That allowed Hartmann to steal the spotlight with a memorable performance on Patriots' Day.
Even though he wasn't able to secure a spot on the Olympic team, he proved his future continues to look bright. Hartmann has become a name to keep an eye on in the future thanks to yesterday's solid performance.
Runners don't tend to get a lot of publicity due to the sport's lack of widespread appeal, but Hartmann deserves a lot of respect for finishing as the top American in the Boston Marathon.