The outpouring of emotion surrounding the tragic death of Ryan Shay reached its cathartic peak on Saturday as thousands of runners from across North America participated in what may be a first of its kind – the “virtual” 5.5 Mile Ryan Shay Memorial Run. Ever since the run was suggested, runners everywhere have chimed in sharing their stories of inspiration about Ryan, as well as sending their thoughts and prayers to Ryan’s friends and family.
The voice was heard across the web on countless blogs such as Anne’s and Mark’s, as well on numerous forums (Runners World, Dyestat, Coolrunning, RunningAhead and Tapermadness to mention just a few). Facebook even showed it can have a heart when KC Shafer posted about the event on Facebook, getting the word out to hundreds of highschools and colleges and thousands of students.
In addition to the November 17 event, Runner’s World put together a tribute page, Amby Burfoot provided touching reports and insight from his blog, a YouTube video tribute was created, and an almost overwhelming outpouring of emotion surfaced at Letsrun after Ryan’s father Joe posted there.
Thank you to everyone who paid tribute to Ryan – November 17th truly showed the potential for the web as a place where communities can come together. We’d like to pass on your tributes to the Shay family. Please leave us a comment (and a link to your blog or forum if you have one) to let them know how you paid tribute to Ryan – I’m sure they will appreciate hearing from you.
Rest in peace, Ryan. You are missed.
(details for donating to the Ryan Shay Memorial Fund can be found at this link)
UPDATE: The original post announcing this memorial generated 197 responses by people committing to run 5.5 in Ryan’s memory. That’s the most responses ever received by a single post on completerunning.com.