Run. Mix. Burn!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Ryan Shay, dies during U.S. Olympic marathon trials

Those who read running magazine... you know him. Hope his death won't discourage people to exercise.

American Ryan Shay, in red gloves and black winter hat, competes during the U.S. men's Olympic marathon trials Saturday in New York City. Shay later collapsed near the 5 1/2-mile mark and was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital at 8:46 a.m. ET.

NEW YORK -- Ryan Shay, 28, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich., died today during the running of the 2008 Olympic marathon trials, a press source told

"We have absolutely tragic news confirmed that Ryan Shay passed away today," said Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of New York Road Runners.

Shay collapsed and was taken off the course near East 75th Street in Manhattan, around the five-mile mark in the race. He received immediate medical attention, but responders were not able to revive him.

"There were several layers of medical response," she said, but would not elaborate on what steps were taken.

An ambulance carrying marathoner Ryan Shay drives through Central Park en route to the hospital where he was pronounced dead Saturday morning.

Wittenberg said Shay was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital and was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m. The medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy Sunday.

"It cuts a knife through everybody's hearts," Wittenberg said.

Shay was a favorite heading into the 2004 trials, but his goals of making it to the Olympics were hampered by a hamstring strain, and he finished 23rd. He was the 2003 U.S. marathon champion and was third at this year's U.S. 25K championships. He also won the U.S. half marathon in 2003 and 2004. Shay was the U.S. 20,000m road racing champion in 2004, making him a four-time national champion.

"He was a tremendous champion who was here today to pursue his dreams," said Craig Masback, chief executive of U.S. track and field's governing body. "The Olympic trials is traditionally a day of celebration, but we are heartbroken."

When he captured the 2001 NCAA 10,000m title in 2001, it marked the first national individual title in track for Notre Dame. Shay graduated from Notre Dame in 2002.

"It's a big loss for the running community," said 2004 women's marathon Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, who once trained with Shay. "It's a day we should be celebrating. It has cast a pall. The distance running community is very close."

Shay was married July 7 of this year to Alicia Craig -- a professional distance runner, two-time NCAA champion and the collegiate 10,000m record-holder during her days running at Stanford -- who he met in 2005 at the New York City marathon. Alicia was hoping to earn a ticket to Beijing to compete in the women's 10,000 meters.

"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."

"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."


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