Ryan’s life was cut unexpectedly short by an accident that was out of his control on May 22, 2012. Those who knew Ryan were familiar with his quirky personality and his unique outfits such as the classic sweatpants and sweater combination. He was an elite athlete with a passion for running that was only equaled by his passion for nature and helping others. He ran every day, no matter the weather conditions. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail could stop him. It could be assumed that he picked this up from his dad (a mail carrier)!
Ryan started his athletic career as a soccer player. All of the running that he did on the field allowed him to quickly realize his true talent as a distance runner. His first 5k race was in 1998 at the age of 13, and he placed 2nd overall. That race was the first of nearly 100 5K races that he ran. Ryan competed first as an individual and then joined the Belle Vernon Area High School team. In college, he competed for California University of Pennsylvania. His fastest times came after college when he trained with his friend Eric under Ryan’s own unique philosophy that borrowed from all of his previous coaches, life experiences, and research. Ryan graduated from California University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Physics Education. On the day of his college graduation, he refused to go out to dinner with his parents after the ceremony until he had his evening 5 mile run. Ryan started his teaching career at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake, PA. He also spent time teaching at Ringgold High School and Shippensburg High School. After taking a vacation to Hawaii with a friend in 2011, he applied for and was offered a job there, but turned it down because he was not able to bring his running partner Jake (his dog).
During Ryan’s years of teaching, he bought land and built a house in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, primarily as a place to train during the summer months. This venture was the complete embodiment of Ryan’s personality. Ryan moved to the mountains in late May of 2010 without owning any property. His car was his home for two weeks until he found the right location. Then he proceeded to work 12 hours each day (while still running at least an hour a day) for 3 months until the house was almost finished except for some interior furnishings. During construction, Ryan’s home was a tarp in the woods without running water or electricity. Never during this seemingly impossible task did Ryan doubt himself. He never even took a day off from running.
Ryan’s first taste of coaching track came in 2012 as a volunteer with his alma mater, Belle Vernon Area. After a few short weeks he knew that he had found his true calling. Ryan set out determined to pursue his dream of becoming a Collegiate Cross Country Coach. The call to accept his dream job came one day too late, on May 23, 2012.
“There is no excuse not to run. It’s just about being happy, and running makes me happy.”
– Ryan Moravec