Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Tale of Two Ryans: Today's Olympic Trials...

For the first time ever, New York City was bestowed with the honor of holding the United States Olympic Team Trials. 105 phenomenal runners from all across the country came to New York this weekend, to compete the day before the BIG race, for their own, even BIGGER race. The top three finishers would qualify to represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics Marathon in Beijing, China. 105 runners started, and 104 runners finished.

Ryan Hall, who I had the honor to race with at last year's Cow Harbor run in Northport, NY, blew away the competition today by finishing the marathon in the blitzkrieg-like time of 2:09:01. He was then followed by Dathan Ritzenhein, who but all was ready to hang up his shoes last year to become a DENTIST, and Brian Sell, a native from Minnesota.

All the runners had to overcome some pretty nasty winds, remnants from Tropical Storm Noel, as they looped around Central Park 5 times this morning.

Unfortunately, there was yet another tragedy in Marathoning today, which makes one think just how dangerous this sport is...

Ryan Shay died during Olympics trials in New York City's Central Park this morning. Shay, a marathon runner, was one of the elite hopefuls that was favored to go to the Olympics in Beijing, China next year. He suffered a heart attack 5 1/2 miles into the race. Shay was declared dead on arrival when he was taken to Lennox Hill hospital. He was 28. Shay of Flagstaff, Ariz., hit the ground during the 26.2-mile qualifier for the Beijing Games. Shay was a favorite going into the 2004 trials but was sidelined with a hamstring strain. He finished 23rd in that race. However, he was third at this year's U.S. 25K championships. His wife, Alicia, also is a professional distance runner. They married in July. "My thoughts and prayers just go out to them and their family," said winner Ryan Hall, who is good friends with Alicia. "It's a sad thing." Shay, who was born in Michigan and graduated from Notre Dame, qualified for the trials at the 2006 Twin Cities Marathon. "We ask you to join us in extending our very deepest condolences to Alicia, to Ryan's family and the Notre Dame running community," Wittenberg said. "It's certainly not the way we expected any part of the race to go."

Ryan competes in the 10,000
during the U.S. Olympic
Track & Field Trials on July 9
2004, at the Alex G. Spanos Sports
Complex in Sacramento, Calif.

(okay, this is a bit creepy. My name is Alex G. (for Gonzalez) and July 9 is my birthday...)

Although I never knew who he was, I do extend my very deepest condolences to Ryan's wife, Alicia, and to Ryan's family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alex.. came accross your blog.. I think it's awesome. I've tried to reach you but you seem to be MIA?? Please drop me a line when you see my note. Michele from Buffalo!