Family and friends return one year later in celebration of runner’s life
NEW YORK, NY (November 1, 2008)
Amidst the spectacular foliage of Central Park, a memorial bench was dedicated in perpetuity to Ryan Shay at a private ceremony attended by family, friends and former Notre Dame teammates. Saucony, Inc., a leading global supplier of performance athletic footwear and apparel, hosted the tribute to honor Shay, a longtime friend and sponsored athlete. Shay, one of America’s top distance runners, collapsed and died 5.5 miles into the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City’s Central Park last November.
“This is the first time that I’ve been back in New York, the first time that I’ve seen where Ryan fell,âÂVbCrLf said Alicia Shay, the wife of the nine-time All-American and an elite runner herself. “It was difficult, but to be surrounded by family and friends at this special place made it a healing experience for all of us. I am so grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to say thank you to all who remember Ryan. I hope everyone will be inspired every time they pass his bench,âÂVbCrLf she added.
“Today is a celebration of Ryan’s life,âÂVbCrLf said Richie Woodworth, president of Saucony. “We wanted to honor Ryan in an enduring way, in this beautiful park, surrounded by the running community he loved. We hope as runners pass this bench, they will take a moment to reflect on a life lived with strength and determination while gaining inspiration to live their own to its fullest,âÂVbCrLf he said.
The plaque that will adorn the bench is engraved with a quote from Shay, reading: “It is necessary to dig deep within oneself to discover the hidden grain of steel called will.âÂVbCrLf
Woodworth presented a rendition of the plaque to Alicia Shay, a former two-time 10,000 meter champion at Stanford and a Saucony sponsored athlete as well.
To begin the morning’s ceremony, a local group of youth runners ran Shay’s final mile down Central Park’s East Drive, carrying a wreath of red and white roses with a ribbon bearing the 2003 U.S. Marathon Champion’s name.
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