Ryan Shay

Former Notre Dame Standout Distance Runner Ryan Shay Dies Suddenly During Olympic Marathon Trials

Nov. 3, 2007

Former Notre Dame standout distance runner Ryan Shay died suddenly this morning, during the running of the 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in New York City. The 28-year-old Shay, a native of Central Lake, Mich., earned All-America honors in nine events spanning his Notre Dame cross country and track careers – making him the most decorated All-America student-athlete in Notre Dame history. That accomplishment was eclipsed last spring, when fellow distance runner Molly Huddle earned the 10th All-America finish of her Notre Dame career.

(Note: a full tribute to Shay, featuring quotes from Notre Dame head coach Joe Piane and Shay’s former teammate Luke Watson, will be forthcoming later this weekend on und.com.)

Shay won the NCAA 10,000-meter race in 2001 – becoming Notre Dame’s first track-and-field champion since the early 1970s – and was a four-time All-American in that 10-K event. He earned Academic All-America honors while graduating from Notre Dame in 2002 with a 3.21 cumulative grade-point average, as a double major in economics and computer applications.

Shay’s postgraduate training had included ramping up to the marathon distance, more than four times the length of a 10-K. He won the 2003 U.S. Marathon race and was among the favorites heading into the 2004 Olympic trials, before being slowed by a hamstring strain and finishing 23rd.

Shay and former Stanford distance runner Alicia Craig were married four months ago.