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Race honors Ryan Myers' memory

April 03, 2010|By DON AINES
  • Two-kilometer runners begin at the starting line Saturday at Grace Academy for the inaugural Race for Ryan, a benefit in honor of Ryan Myers, who was killed April 9, 2009, in a motorcycle accident. Proceeds will go toward the Ryan Myers Memorial Scholarship fund.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- During his 23 years, Ryan Myers was passionate about many things, two of which were the focus of Saturday's inaugural Race for Ryan at Grace Academy.

"He had a love for sports and a love for children," said Myers sister, Jenn.

Saturday morning, 190 runners kicked off what Ryan Myers' family hopes will be an annual event at the school to fund a college scholarship.

Ryan Myers was killed April 9, 2009, when the motorcycle he was riding was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. Saturday's event was held at the school from which he graduated and where he had been an assistant soccer coach, said his father, Maryland Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr.

"We had people come from Cumberland all the way to Annapolis," LeRoy Myers said after he completed the 6-kilometer race.

His oldest son, Scott, came up with the idea of honoring Ryan's memory with the event, which included a 2-kilometer fun run.

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"This is nice. It's for a good cause," LeRoy Myers said. "I wish we were doing it for something else ... I wish we had him back."

LeRoy Myers did not know how much money had been raised by the time all of the registration fees and T-shirt sales were done, but corporate contributions were in excess of $14,000, he said. The money raised will be used by the Community Foundation of Washington County, MD Inc. to fund college scholarships of $1,000 a year, renewable up to four years, he said.

LeRoy Myers said there were 33 applicants for the first year of the scholarship program. Graduating seniors from Washington County public and private schools are eligible for the Ryan Myers Memorial Scholarship, along with students from accredited home-school programs.

"It's been a long time since I've run 3.7 miles," a winded LeRoy Myers said after completing the race. "I knew I wasn't going to come in first, but I sure didn't want to come in last."

"He would be proud of me because I ran a mile," said Ryan's mother, Lu Ann. She said she trained through March for the race and that her late son would "be proud of his mom."

The first to finish was Mark Eissens of Williamsport, who finished with a time of 21:44.4, said Kevin Spradlin, assistant race director. Mackenzie Riford of Hagerstown, who had been coached by Ryan at Grace Academy, described her time as "slow," but she led the female runners with a time of 27:02.2, Spradlin said.

"You're awesome," Travis Martz told fellow Annapolis attorney Erin Appel, who finished third among the women. "I told her she was going to finish in the top five."

"He's a personal friend, so we came out for him," Appel said of LeRoy Myers.

Luke Cessna of Fort Loudon, Pa., began jogging three years ago after "someone put a bug in my ear" about running. The Race for Ryan was his first competitive race and he posted a time under 28 minutes, Cessna said.

A number of Ryan's nieces, nephews and cousins ran in the race, along with members of his immediate family, Lu Ann said.

"He would want something like this," Lu Ann said. "He was an athlete."

"He was pretty much a dad to my son," said Ryan's sister, Katie.

"I don't think I've cried it all out yet," Lu Ann said of the death of her son a year ago. Still, she has good memories.

"He and I were very close," she said. "We had no unfinished business."

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