It was in November last year, during the US Men’s Olympic Trials, that Shay collapsed at the 10km mark in Central Park, New York. Watson’s prevailing thoughts about Shay continue to drift away from the tracks and trails. For Ryan, being a professional athlete was so important.". You can triple a victim’s chance of survival when you take these lifesaving actions. He was married to Alicia Craig, who was also an American distance runner.. I really thought that today he was going to have a breakthrough, because he likes it when it’s windy and cool. Shay was granted an injury exemption for the ensuing NCAA Great Lakes Regional race but he returned to action with another courageous performance by placing sixth at the NCAA Championships, in Greenville, S.C. Running against what Watson calls “one of the best fields ever,” Shay finished behind five legendary runners – Eastern Michigan’s Boas Cheboiywo (a Kenyan national) and the Colorado duo of Jorge Torres (a World Championship participant) and Dathan Ritzenheim, plus Alistair Craig of Arkansas (a member of Ireland’s Olympic team) and Watson. Shay also received valuable mentoring from the other members of that training group and soon he was running in his first 26-mile race, at the 2002 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. At one point, they came to an end of a road and faced what they thought was a small hill. Six years earlier, Shay was honored on the field at Notre Dame Stadium during a 2001 Irish football game – as more than 80,000 fans applauded in recognition of his NCAA 10K championship that had been won during the previous spring season. He also was a four-time All-American in the outdoor 10,000 meters – placing among the top-10 in 1999 (7th; 29:55), 2000 (7th; 30:54), ’01 (1st; 29:05) and ’02 (2nd; 28:32) – in addition to twice earning All-America honors in the indoor 5K, with matching times of 14:02 (good for 9th in ’01 and 6th in ’02). Predeceased by his brother Eamon and sister Margaret (Bredin). Shay won the 2003 U.S. Marathon race – becoming that event’s youngest champion in 30 years – and was among the favorites heading into the 2004 Olympic trials, before being slowed by a hamstring strain and finishing 23rd at that race in Birmingham, Ala. (2:19:20).. “Ryan was here just last week at our practice, before he headed out to New York for the trials,” says Joe Piane, who recently embarked on his 33rd season as head coach of the Notre Dame men’s cross country team and the school’s track-and-field programs. If not for Ryan Shay, I don’t think it would have been as easy for others to make the jump from running 10-Ks to marathons.”. "The first thing we do is say a prayer. Shay and Hall recently had been training partners near Hall’s college stomping grounds in Woodside, Calif. (near Palo Alto). To put Shay’s NCAA title into further perspective, his championship is one of only eight in Notre Dame history (the first since 1944) to come during an NCAA running event and five of those NCAA titles came at the shorter distances of 600 yards, one mile or two miles (3). “Leading up to the 2001 NCAA 10,000-meter race, we knew that Ryan would be one of the top contenders and frankly thought he had what it took to win the race,” recalls Piane. If we ever needed to pick up a point in the standings or a win, we could turn to Ryan Shay and he would deliver. He will be sadly missed by his sisters Maura and Una and his brother Pat, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. He was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.He attended the University of Notre Dame. I think all that could have been done, was done.". “He took the lead after the first lap and then led for the final 24 laps. I’ve learned from experience not to be content to sit back and take it slow. "But for most of us, if somebody said we had a heart issue that maybe someday we would need some kind of help, I don't know, would you stop doing what you love? He was later pronounced dead, … The day after Ryan Shay died during the U.S. Olympic trials marathon, a seemingly healthy 28-year-old stricken early in a race he had run many times, his family had no more answers. That was a side I got to know more.”. One had to go all the way back to 1956 – when Aubrey Lewis won the 400-meter hurdles – to find Notre Dame’s previous NCAA champion at the outdoor meet. Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Experts say the issue of an enlarged heart is complicated. He just dominated the field that day and won going away. March 18, 2008–NEW YORK–Joe Shay received official word Tuesday what caused his son’s sudden death Nov. 3 at the U.S. Olympic marathon trails. “The hardest thing to do as a coach was hold Ryan back,” says Piane. It was there that he trained under legendary coach Joe Vigil while running alongside Olympians such as Meb Keflezighi (the 2004 Olympic silver medalist) Nick Rogers, Deena Drossin Kastor (’04 Olympic bronze), Jen Rhines and Amy Rudolph. The only previous Notre Dame competitors ever to win an NCAA title in an event longer than two miles were Greg Rice (in 1938) and Oliver Hunter (in 1942) at the NCAA cross country meet, which was a four-mile race (2,500 meters) during that era. Proclaiming that he was taking his “good old fashioned Midwest values and work ethic” and looking to “plant them in new soil,” Shay settled in at the high-elevation, oxygen-deprived environment.
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