Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ryan Shay

This morning, Ryan Shay lined up for what might have been the biggest race of his life, a moment he's been working toward for years. Less than an hour and a half later, after collapsing outside the Boathouse, he was dead at 28. Any untimely death is senseless, but I can't help feeling this one is particularly so. His wife and in-laws were there for what could have been a life-defining moment: making an Olympic marathon team. There will be an autopsy, and I'm sure it'll find the same thing that felled Jason Collier and Reggie Lewis: an undetected heart defect. What I can't get over is the timing. Why today? Before idiots start claiming this just proves running marathons is "nuts," remember he was one of the fittest people on the planet, an elite athlete. He was running at a pace that, for him, wasn't all that stressful even. He'd done it so many times before, so why today? We'll never know, of course. I liked what Ryan Hall's coach, who briefly coached Shay, said about him: "If you probably asked him if there was any way he wanted to go, it was out on the race course."

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