Ryan Shay

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Ryan Shay
Personal information
Born (1979-05-04)May 4, 1979
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
Died November 3, 2007(2007-11-03) (aged 28)
New York City, USA
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 155 lb (70 kg)
Country United States
Sport Track, Long-distance running
Event(s) 5000 meters, 10,000 meters, Marathon
College team Notre Dame
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking No. 9
Personal best(s) 5000 meters: 13:35.00[1]
10,000 meters: 28:03.44[1]
Marathon: 2:14:08[1]
Updated on 27-11-2008.

Ryan Shay (May 4, 1979 – November 3, 2007) was an American professional long-distance runner.[2] He was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and attended the University of Notre Dame.[3] He was married to Alicia Craig, also an American distance runner. Shay is survived by his wife Alicia, parents Joe and Susan, and his seven siblings: Jodie, Casey, Sarah, Amie, and younger brothers Nate (who also was a distance runner at Notre Dame), Elliott and Stephan.

Running career[edit]

High school[edit]

Ryan Shay attended Central Lake High School in Central Lake, Michigan, home of the Trojans, from 1993 to 1997. He won every cross country meet he competed in following the third meet of his freshman year (1993), including four consecutive Class-D MHSAA Lower Peninsula (LP) state cross country meets from 1994 to 1997.[4][5] He was a three-time consecutive Class D MHSAA LP state champion in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs from his sophomore through senior track seasons (1995 through 1997), and also won the Class-D MHSAA LP state title in the 800-meter run as a sophomore. He was also his class valedictorian.[6]


Shay continued running as a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1997, majoring in economics and competing in both cross country and track. He was a 9-time All-American while competing at Notre Dame. Shay was the first Notre Dame runner to win a NCAA individual title, winning the 10,000-meter run at the 2001 NCAA outdoor meet in a time of 29:05.44.[3] Shay graduated as the school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter runs, as well as the 10,000-meter run. He graduated in the top of his class.


Following college, Shay ran professionally, winning races at various distances, including marathon, half-marathon, 20 km and 15 km.[3][7][8] Shay also competed during the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, finishing 15th in the men's individual race. Shay finished in 23rd place in the 2004 Men's Olympic Marathon Trials.[9]


  • 2005 USATF 15 km Champion
  • 2004 USATF 20 km Champion
  • 2004 USATF Half-Marathon Champion
  • 2003 USATF Half-Marathon Champion
  • 2003 USATF Marathon Champion
  • 2001 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Champion (10000-meter run)
  • 2001 Big East Conference Outdoor Track & Field Champion (10000-meter run)
  • 2001 Big East Conference Indoor Track & Field Champion (5000-meter run)
  • 2000 Big East Conference Outdoor Track & Field Champion (5000-meter & 10000-meter runs)
  • 1999 Big East Conference Cross Country Champion
  • 1999 Big East Conference Indoor Track & Field Champion (3000-meter run)


On November 3, 2007, during the US Olympic marathon trials in New York City, Shay collapsed approximately 5 12 miles (8.9 km) into the race at 8:06 a.m. He was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m.[7][9][10] Doctors at the hospital who examined him reported that he died of a massive heart attack, due to a pre–existing enlarged heart condition.[9] Autopsy results were initially inconclusive, leading to speculation over other possibilities for his death [11] On March 18, 2008, Ellen Borakove, the Director of Public Affairs of the New York Chief Medical Examiner's Office released the following statement to Joe Shay, Ryan's father, regarding his final autopsy results: "Cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac hypertrophy with patchy fibrosis of undetermined etiology. Natural causes."[12]


  1. ^ a b c IAAF. "Athlete profile for Ryan Shay". 
  2. ^ Lynn Zinser (November 4, 2007). "28-Year-Old Marathoner Dies in Olympic Trials". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c Philip Hersh (2007). "Runner dies during U.S. marathon trials". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ University of Notre Dame Athletic Department (2001). "Player Bio: Ryan Shay:: Track". Notre Dame Athletic Website. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ Bill Khan (2006). "MHSAA: Records-Boys Cross Country Individual Champions". MHSAA Website. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  6. ^ Bill Khan & Jim Moyess (2006). "MHSAA: Records-Boys Track and Field Individual Champions". MHSAA Website. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Dick Patrick (November 4, 2007). "Ryan Shay dies in U.S. Olympic marathon trials". USA Today. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  8. ^ Associated Press (2007). "Runner dies in marathon trials". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on November 4, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b c Shipley, Amy (November 4, 2007). "Death Casts a Pall Over Trials". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  10. ^ John Walters (2007). "Notre Dame coach mourns Irish great". NBC Sports. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Discussion of possible causes of death of Ryan Shay". Science of Sports. Retrieved November 5, 2007. 
  12. ^ Ryan Shay Autopsy Results"Ryan Shay Autopsy Results". 

External links[edit]