Marathon Ryan: A Story of Determination
Allow us to take a moment to highlight the achievements of a SEASPAR participant who has overcome, achieved, and excelled. He is an example to us all and a testament to what one can accomplish when determined. His story is not only one that needs to be shared; it's an inspiration to us all.
Ryan McGuire's career with SEASPAR began at the age of 8 with swim lessons. His love of exercise sparked! Not long after, Ryan was competing in tournaments as a member of the SEASPAR swim team. His devotion to training was so great, one could assume he enjoyed it more than competing. Whether that was true or not, one thing was apparent: Ryan was motivated.
Ryan began running in his freshman year at Lyons Township High School. He joined the cross country team, where he received plenty of support from his teammates and coaches. With help from para-professionals, Ryan trained tirelessly, and his efforts paid off. By the end of his freshman year, Ryan's best time completing a 3-mile run was 34 minutes, only 3-4 minutes more than the competition. Unknown to everyone then, those 3-4 minutes served as a motivation for Ryan, which fueled his drive even more.
By his junior year, Ryan was running a mile in under 5 minutes. Ryan finished his senior year in cross country with a 16:30, 3-mile conference meet run – finishing in the top 10% in his class. Ryan cut his time by more than half compared to his freshman year. It is said that Ryan is the most improved cross country runner in the 133-year history of Lyons Township High School.
Once a runner, always a runner. Ryan continues running, reaching new goals wherever possible. Ryan recently completed two half-marathon races in preparation for his run in the Chicago Marathon, which he completed while raising over $2,000 for Best Buddies, a not-for-profit organization that offers one-to-one services to individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities in Illinois. Ryan was able to run the Chicago Marathon course without supervision and finished in 3:32:05, which placed him in the top 11.5 percentile of runners. As an added bonus, the Chicago Marathon took place on Ryan's 20th birthday. His cake read "Happy B-Day Marathon Ryan."
Luckily, you won't have to travel too far to see Marathon Ryan in action. Ryan continues to run wherever he can, especially when it's local. Wherever there is a race, you're sure to see Ryan. He recently ran in the Downers Grove BBQ Bolt 5K Run event, where he placed first in his division. When Ryan is not running, he spends much of his time at his school's transition program and (believe it or not) can be seen walking to work at Trader Joe's – in record time, we're sure.
Thank you to Ryan for being such a great example to us all. We hope his story inspires anyone facing a remarkable journey, for Ryan is proof that determination fuels results.