There might be something to the notion that with perhaps the most quality elite fields ever (there were 13 sub-2:30 women and 14 sub-2:10 men at the starting line) at this marathon, many of the top contenders went out too hard (lots of surging going on) and blew up due to the nature of the course profile.
you're probably right on the money with this comment… the hills at the start and the GREAT crowds tend to 'inspire' even mere mortals to start out like you can run a WR race. Another comment from an article I wish I had kept was that we as Americans expect our country (which is large & prosperous) to always fill the top of every competition, but some countries never see any of their runners finish well. As it is now our runners (best, second tier, whomever) have many races to choose from. Still nice to see when our runners hit the podium. Far be it from me to critique an elite runner, but I did hear a comment that if Hall had been paying a bit more attention he might have reeled Merga in at the last and got third instead of fourth. He's young and will have a couple more chances.