Through hard work, discipline, and determination, Ryan became a role model to many aspiring student athletes in Michigan and throughout the country. During his collegiate years at the University of Notre Dame, he became well known for his fierce competitive nature, and was well respected by many athletes in the amateur and professional running community.
Ryan Shay was born May 4,1979 and grew up in the rural northern Michigan town of Central Lake. He graduated as valedictorian from Central Lake High School in 1997. Ryan earned numerous academic and athletic awards and recognitions as a high school distance runner and is the only male runner to win four consecutive Michigan High School Athletic Assoc. class D cross-country state championships (1993-1996). Upon graduation from high school, he earned a full scholarship from the University of Notre Dame where he earned a degree in economics.
While attending Notre Dame, Ryan, was a top contender on the collegiate track and cross-country circuit and became the most decorated athlete in Notre Dame’s history. He became a professional world class runner after graduating, with honors, from the University of Notre Dame, and specialized in long distances with a focus on the marathon.
Tragically, on November 3, 2007, during the US Olympic Marathon Trials held in New York City, Shay collapsed approximately 5.5 miles into the race. Rescue personnel were unable to revive him, and upon arrival at Lennox Hospital (NYC) emergency it was determined that Ryan had passed away. An autopsy (NYCME) determined that death was due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest attributed to "Cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac hypertrophy with patchy fibrosis of undetermined etiology. Natural causes.”
About the Events
The summer following his death, Ryan's parents, Joe and Sue Shay, decided a road race and high school cross country meets would be an appropriate way to honor his memory while raising funds for an annual scholarship. Please see the scholarship page for information and scholarship recipients to date.
Links to some articles about Ryan Shay:
Digging Deep: The Legacy of Ryan Shay Ten Years After His Death at The Olympic Marathon Trials
High Country Running: Remembering Ryan Shay, 10 Years Later
Ryan Shay, Wikipedia
Ryan Shay Tribute: Notre Dame Mourns The Death Of A Champion (includes photo series)
Saying Goodbye: Central Lake Mourns Star Runner Shay
Track And Field's Ryan Shay Wins NCAA 10,000-Meter Championship
Shay Running Down Goals
Ryan Shay Movie 2001
Ryan Shay's high school and collegiate Athletic Accomplishments
Ryan Shay: In His Own Words
Ryan Shay 2001, You Tube
Great Coaches-Olympic Distance Coach Joe Vigil and Ryan Shay
Ryan Shay Interview 2004 - GLSP TV NETWORK
Ryan Shay - The Workhorse
Remembering Ryan Shay
Shay's death rocks sports
Ryan Shay RIP 1979-2007