most folks out there that are reading this that are runners themselves are familiar with the untimely death of ryan shay over the weekend at the 2008 olympic marathon trials in new york on saturday, november 3rd. 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 us in future olympics looked good.
sure, the loss of a talented distance runner is a tough pill to swallow for the united states, who 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 me 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 that will feel ryan's absence the most.This really struck me as a fitting way to pay tribute to Ryan. I would say that it should be extended as a tribute to Chad Schieber, who died while running Chicago, and to Matthew Hardy, who died soon after completing New York. And to others I don't even know about who have passed away while doing the sport they love. But the distance of 5.5 miles is a good rallying point, not to mention a poignant reminder of how frail life can be. This is a way that the everyrunner (as opposed to everyman) can be a part of something bigger. I know I've been searching for a way to process my feelings about this tragedy. I hope this will help.