Hillary Bor To Make Half Marathon Debut In NYC Half | Still Going For Third Olympic Team In Steeplechase

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

February 22, 2024

"We've been planning on just getting a solid half, and then a really fast half. Hopefully after the track season this year I can find a really fast (half marathon) and try to get the American record there."

Hillary Bor is a two-time U.S. Olympian in the steeplechase and the third-fastest American steeplechaser in history. He is preparing to make his half marathon debut at the United Airlines NYC Half on March 17. This is a highly-anticipated half marathon debut since Bor ran 46:11 last year to break Greg Meyer’s 40-year-old American record of 46:13 for 10 miles at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. Even with his track success, he’s taken well to the roads.

In this episode, Bor talks about his hopes for a career on the roads, why he thought Ryan Hall’s 59:43 American record could be attainable, when he’s thinking about the marathon and why his training group under coach Scott Simmons has him set up for success. He also has unfinished business on the track as he looks to make his third Olympic team this summer for Paris.

If you enjoyed our recent episode with Elkanah Kibet, this one pairs well with that one. They were former training partners in Colorado Springs and Hillary also shares some of his own story coming from Kenya from an accomplished running family, his NCAA career at Iowa State and then joining the U.S. Army before his running career took off.

Host: Chris Chavez | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@chris_j_chavez on Instagram⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Guest: Hillary Bor | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@bor.hillary on Instagram⁠⁠⁠

Hillary BorHillary Bor

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Time Stamps:

  • 4:21: Sharing about battling injuries in 2023.
  • 5:15 - Why he’s choosing to race at the NYC Half Marathon.
  • 7:15 - His upcoming plans for racing on the roads and track.
  • 8:25 - How he broke his foot while racing in Rabat.
  • 10:12 - Details on his injury recovery.
  • 10:59 - How his injury impacted steeplechase training.
  • 12:16 - His transition from the track to the roads.
  • 14:59 - Aspirations for the American half marathon record.
  • 15:50 - What his weekly training structure looks like.
  • 17:03 - His plans for the 2024 Olympic Trials.
  • 18:31 - Thoughts on his steeplechase competitors.
  • 21:39 - Thoughts on the U.S. steeplechase scene.
  • 25:34 - Mindset on closing speed at Diamond League races.
  • 27:30 - His family’s history with running.
  • 34:33 - His relationship with his brother.
  • 35:54 - Mindset on his accomplishments.
  • 37:46 - What he’s most excited about this year.
  • 40:10 - What running was like growing up in Kenya.

The following interview excerpt has been edited lightly for clarity. You can listen to the full interview with Hillary Bor on the CITIUS MAG Podcast – available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows.

CITIUS MAG: It's been a while since we've seen our guest, Hillary Borr, on the track. But you're back to racing after missing some time in 2023 due to injury. There's some special news to share: You're getting ready for your first half marathon. You've got the NYC Half coming up. How is everything feeling in training and how's the body holding up?

Hillary Bor: I'm excited. Last year was a rough year for me. I was in really good shape, and then, unfortunately, I broke my foot. I thought I was going to be back really quick, but it took me about three months of not doing anything. I've been training, slowly getting back since October last year. The training has been going really well. I haven't been able to fully train 100% at this point, but I'm close to 95%, which is all I need at this time. I think I still have the endurance in me. So I'm really excited for what’s to come this year.

Two years ago, I went to New York for the 5K. I was there for the whole weekend. It was a really exciting experience. It's one of the best experiences I've ever had. I ran a good 5K and then I stayed for the marathon… So I looked back and was like, ‘I need to come back to New York.’ The New York Road Runners really do a good job… I know my time in track is coming to an end. I want to get into running a half in a big city and who knows about the future. Maybe move up from that to the marathon. But all in all, the organization of the New York Road Runners is just doing a really good job… So I just want to be part of it.

CITIUS MAG: Maybe not on your first try, but do you have the American record on your mind?

Hillary Bor: I had it (in my mind) last year. When I ran the Cherry Blossom (race), it was very windy. And what I did in that time, I felt like I could have sustained that pace for a while. Plus the environment – the wind, the temperature was very cold… Based on the training I was doing, my coach felt like I could really go under 60 (minutes). We've been planning on just getting a solid half, and then a really fast half. It's really in my mind. So hopefully. Hopefully after the track season this year I can find a really fast (half marathon) and try to get the American record there.

CITIUS MAG: I guess for you the plan is to do the half marathon in March and probably not a full marathon until 2025, right?

Hillary Bor: That's the plan. I really want to focus on making this Olympic (team) in the steeplechase. I’ve got two kids, you can hear them from the background. They've never seen me race. I'm really trying to make these Olympic Trials for them, just to be there to watch me race. In my mind, I know I really want to go run the marathon. If this year was not an Olympic year, I don't think I would have come back to the track. So since this is an Olympic year, yes, I have to come by the track and make sure I finish a business on the track. The latest for the marathon is probably in spring next year.

CITIUS MAG: How has the way the Americans run the steeplechase changed in the last five years? Now we have so many different players. What are the dynamics of the U.S. steeplechase?

Hillary Bor: I think overall, U.S. distance runners have just stepped up again when it comes to racing. You can look at the 1500m, look at the 5K. The 5K is crazy. Look at the 10K. So now I think everyone is running fast, and then when you just go to the steeple, you automatically see other people running fast. I think (Evan) Jager made it easier for us to just follow his footsteps and succeed…

I think for years we have had really good guys. And you see a few guys running the Diamond League last year. It's a good trend, because the more you run with them, the more comfortable you become. Before, you would think that running 8:10 would be really tough. And then when you go out there and run 8:10 and are like, ‘OK, it's not as bad as we thought.’ I feel like the U.S. is going to continue improving on both sides. Women are just getting stronger and stronger and the men are just catching up with the women.

CITIUS MAG: What are you most excited about this year in particular?

Hillary Bor: I’ve got two kids that have never seen me run, and the Olympic Trials would be the biggest thing for me. I'm going to show them that if you are disciplined and put in work, you can achieve your dream. If I get to make that Olympic team, that would probably be my greatest accomplishment. At first I never thought I would be an Olympian. To have a chance to put myself in a place to make a third Olympic team is all that I have in my mind right now.”

CITIUS MAG: Do you ever think about your place in U.S. running history? Because it's very accomplished and I don't think enough people celebrate it.

Hillary Bor: No, I just don't think about it. For me, it's a process. I just want to show people that it's possible… It's just showing people the consistency of being disciplined and resilient, you can really perform at this level for as long as you can. I'm trying to continue to push the barrier… It's just trying to show people that you can perform at this level as long as you take care of your body, you're disciplined and resilient, and listen to your coach.

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Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.

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