Most folks out there who are reading this are already familiar with the untimely death of 28-year-old running phenom Ryan Shay at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City, on Saturday, November 3. Ryan collapsed at mile 5.5 and was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital shortly thereafter.
This news has rocked the distance running community, as Ryan had an incredibly promising career and had already set many records in his years at Notre Dame and proved himself at distances ranging from 10k to the marathon. At 28, the prospects of him representing the U.S. in future Olympics looked good.
Sure, the loss of a talented distance runner is a tough pill to swallow for the United States, which has only recently started to have a resurgence of talent at the marathon level. What is harder to swallow, though, is the thought of those that are left behind trying to make sense of the empty space that he once occupied. His wife, Alicia. His training partners, Meb, Deena, Josh, etc. his numerous friends and family.
Join us in support of them as they process their loss and dedicate your own 5.5 mile run next Saturday, November 17th in memory of Ryan. Run the exact distance, or dedicate a 5.5 mile portion of a longer run in his memory. Take the time to recognize life’s frailty, to think about those in your life that you need to tell that you love and most of all, pray for those who will feel Ryan’s absence the most. Our goal is to get as many runners on this planet as possible running this virtual memorial together. Leave a comment below if you plan to participate, so the Shay family can see the results of our efforts, and perhaps take some comfort. (UPDATE: If you’re not up to 5.5 miles, just dedicate whatever distance you are able to run or run/walk, or walk, to Ryan. It’s not about distance or speed.)
Ryan’s father, Joe Shay, started a thread about Ryan over at the Let’sRun forum. I know the family will appreciate any comments you feel moved to write.
Also, a memorial fund has been set up. I know money can never take away the sense of loss, but his devastated family will be most appreciative of anything you choose to offer.