RWJBarnabas Health Employee John Ryan

Editor’s Note: John Ryan is a senior server analyst for RWJBarnabas Health, generous sponsor of the 2017 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon & Half Marathon Saturday Kids and Family Festival and 5K. RWJBarnabas Health is fielding more than 100 runners in the marathon, half marathon and half marathon relay. John offered to share his story as part of our new Jersey Marathon “Runner’s Spotlight,” a focus on the training, trials, and triumphs of New Jersey Marathon participants. Look for more features in the coming weeks. 

Here is John’s story:

“My Marathon story starts in 2006 when my wife Karen and I decided to train for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. We completed that race and we were bit by the Marathon bug.

“With a group of friends from around the country we decided to try and complete a half marathon in every state. Over the next 10 years we completed races throughout this great country of ours having a great time seeing the sites.

“Over the years there have been some setbacks including being involved in two separate falls requiring me to have reconstructive knee surgery on both knees. Although this slowed down my goal it didn’t stop me.

“2015 was the year we were to finish our quest for 50 states. Two weeks before I was to finish my last two states I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This diagnosis slowed me down but didn’t stop me. I finished my 50th state in October 2015. With that behind me I needed an new goal, something to show MS that I am the boss. I decided to focus my energy on completing a triathlon not just any triathlon but the Ironman 70.3.

“In 2016 I completed two sprint distance triathlons and attempted the Ironman 70.3 in Atlantic City. MS had a different idea for me that day after 2 hours in the water swimming in strong currents and 30 miles on a hotter than normal fall day I had to remove myself from the race.

“The MS has had a severe impact on my running as I found it hard to get over 8 mile never mind 13.1.

“Since I have unfinished business in Atlantic City. I am currently training for IM 70.3 Atlantic City in September and using New Jersey Half Marathon to help be get back in the game and finish another half maybe even a PR.

“To date I have finished 80 half marathons three full marathons and two sprint distance triathlons.”

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