Ryan Shay Inspires Thousands Across the Nation (and beyond) to Run in His Memory

Posted by Filed Under: Elite Running, Inspiration & Motivation

ryan-shay-memorial-run.jpgThe 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

About Jeff Smith

Initially running to escape his two younger sisters, Jeff has been running as far back as he can remember. Through high school, the Marines and Super Hero Training School, Jeff kept at the left-right-left right but without focus. In 1999 he stepped up to the challenge of organizing a running group, began informal coaching and applied some goals to his own running. Now with several respectable distances and times under his belt, he spends most of his time running for the pure joy of it, encouraging other runners to tap into their potential, saving kittens stranded in trees and helping the elderly cross the street.

  1. Juls on November 19th at 11:03 am

    My write up

    My write up of my run for Ryan Shay is nothing special, but perhaps my sharing of the pictures that were posted when I lost my husband will give comfort to Ryan’s family.

  2. Jeanne on November 19th at 11:05 am

    I ran 5.5 for ryan on saturday, by myself, and silently, as I thought of what his family must be going through, and what awaits them still.

  3. Andy on November 19th at 11:54 pm

    Team in Training did their 20 miler practice this past Saturday in Phoenix in preparation for Honolulu and PF Chang’s Marathons coming up. Unfortunately, circumstances were such that the team was unable to run with me. But know that I ran 5.5 for Ryan on behalf of Team in Training in Phoenix.
    Thank you all for your inspiration. My sincere condolences go out to Ryan’s family and friends.