ARTHUR – Nearly every entrance to Arthur is accompanied by the sign: “Logan Hall: 2016 IHSA Boys Track Class A 3200M Run-State Runner-Up.”
Past the sign, or anywhere in the 1.32 mile town, the 5-foot-8 Hall can be found running boundlessly – rain, snow, wind or shine.
He's pretty well known throughout the quaint Amish community. Cars honk as they pass or occupants hang out the window and tell him to keep it up. Towards the end of some runs, he'll even race the horse-drawn buggies as an additional challenge.
That's life as the biggest fish in a small town for the H&R Area Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
The support never gets old for Hall, and to be honest, neither does passing the sign on his way in to town, he said – though it needs updated to acknowledge his newly minted 2017 Class 1A state championship in the 3,200 this year and third-place medal in the 1,600.
“It was a pretty cool thing,” Hall said. “I see it going through other towns, like big towns. They've got tons of them up there for all their athletes. It's cool being a small town guy and having one of those for yourself.”
The championship – and future championships he has in mind – stem back to a workout regiment that seemingly tacks miles on his legs as if they were a car's odometer.
His 55-mile weeks, designed by personal trainer Justin Jones, are accompanied by a newfound dedication to the weight room and much-needed cool-down days.
But Mondays? Those are tough.
Those are his long days. He started out the season with eight-mile runs, until he reached his crescendo of 13 miles during the middle of the year.
“It's pretty hard, especially during school going straight from your last class period to thinking, 'Oh boy, I've got to run for over an hour, by myself, in a small town,'” Hall said.
Even when the Knights had meets during the week, Hall just incorporated those into his workouts. After a race, he knew his day wasn't done and gave his teammates a parting message.
“It's a little bit shocking for other teams or even my own teammates,” Hall said. “I get done with a race, cool down a little bit, and I say, 'See you when I get back. I've got to go do eight more miles.'”
"The kid has a motor that just won't quit," first-year ALAH coach Bryton Ragon said.
It all came full circle at the state final meet; and not only that he won, but how he won.
His time from last season – where he was runner up – paled in comparison to his first-place time this year.
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Last year he finished in 9:37.76, but this year he cruised to a 9:13.74 time.
As he crossed the finish line, the usually reserved junior let out a wave of emotion. He threw his arms up and basked in the glory of his first state title.
“The realization that all of this hard work is starting to come together. It just really got to me,” Hall said. “The moment is so indescribable, you'd have to experience it for yourself. It's so hard to explain, but all of that work I put in came together. I got my first championship. It's pretty big for my community and my family and all they do for me and the support they give me.”
Added Jones: “That was so stinking cool. Right in that moment, because that was a really cool moment, what I thought there was, 'That is miles and miles and miles of work.' He won the state championship officially that day when he raised his arms, but he actually won that state championship all the months before.”
Hall isn't near done. Not by a long stretch.
In fact, the senior-to-be's goals for next year would figure to turn the sign into a billboard if he reaches them.
He has eyes on the distance running Triple Crown – first place at the cross country meet in the fall and in the 1,600 and 3,200 in the spring.
He's seen it done before, and he had a front-row seat for the show. Fithian Oakwood graduate Jon Davis, who is a close friend of Hall's and is running at the University of Illinois, won three straight Triple Crowns from 2014-16.
In fact, Davis is partially responsible for the sign that enters Arthur.
During the finals of Hall's sophomore, and Davis' senior season, the pair were late reporting for the 3,200 because they were unaware of the rolling schedule implemented for the meet.
Luckily, Hall pulled his, 'I'm with him' pass to get in to the race.
“I was lucky I was with him and people know who he is. If I wasn't with him, I probably wouldn't have got to run that race,” Hall said. “The funny part was, we ended up going one-two in that race. They almost didn't let the first and second place finishers in the race.”
Though he was ever-so-close as a sophomore, Hall finally got the taste of gold as a junior, and it's addictive.
Immediately following the race, he declared his lofty Triple Crown goals.
“It really came to me after I won the two mile,” Hall said. “Once you get one you just want more and why not just get three in one year?"
“For him to say right after state that, 'I'm going to win next year. I'm not going to settle for second or third place in any of these events' and say, 'I'm going to finish first in cross country and I'm going to finish first in the two mile and the mile.' That is a very realistic goal,” Ragon said. “He will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.”