While most of the sporting world has had its eyes on baseball playoffs, the NFL, Alabama losing, the WNBA Finals, and the starts of NBA and NHL preseason, the running world is in the midst of a six week gauntlet. Runners from all over the world will compete in the so-called Marathon Majors in a compressed six week window. Marathons in Berlin, Tokyo (virtual due to the pandemic), Chicago, Boston, London, and New York City are usually spread throughout the year, but due to cancellations last year, races were postponed and rescheduled right on top of one another.
These events are unique because unlike the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or The Masters everyday people can compete in the same sport, on the same stage, on the same day, under the same conditions as elite level competitors. And for the 10th consecutive year, UVA’s President Jim Ryan was one of these everyday people as he competed in the Boston Marathon Monday.
But President Ryan isn’t just an everyday person, he’s an accomplished runner. Unlike the other five majors, the majority of runners competing in the Boston Marathon must have achieved a qualifying time in a marathon within the previous 18-24 months (a portion of entries are provided to select non-profit organizations who give those entries to athletes who pledge to raise funds for their cause). And while President Ryan has used his race to brings awareness to various causes each year, he’s run marathons in well under the required qualifying time for his age group.
This year, President Ryan ran to honor nurses who stepped up during the pandemic and specifically he had sponsors honor a particular nurse whose name was printed on the back of Ryan’s shirt. 26 in total were featured, one for each mile of the grueling race.
With sponsors recognizing a special nurse for each mile and having their names printed on the back of my shirt, we’ve raised over $13,000 for UVA nursing student scholarships – and I’m excited to be sponsoring my sister and sister-in-law too, both amazing nurses! pic.twitter.com/tBibQYrSDb— Jim Ryan (@presjimryan) October 10, 2021
In all, President Ryan raised over $13,000 for UVA nursing student scholarships.
As for the race itself, Ryan completed the course from Hopkinton to Boylston Street in Boston in 3:02:27, a blistering 6:58 pace for 26 miles. That time was good for 1,752nd (out of 15,374) place overall and 28th (out of 993) in the Men 55 to 59 age group. Not too bad for a guy running a world-class university.