Saucony has created a formal tribute to Ryan Shay, a Saucony sponsored athlete who died suddenly during the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City last November. On April 17th, Saucony will host a ceremony to dedicate a portion of its product creation and design center to Ryan’s memory.

Saucony president Richie Woodward explains the thinking behind the tribute. “We asked how can we do something that is meaningful and represents Ryan’s memory and the partnership with Saucony? We talked for a long time about what was best. We thought our efforts have to be real, honest and truly represent the spirit in which both Ryan and Saucony worked together and the way Ryan lived his life.”

Adding Shay’s name to the design center and a signature running shoe reflects the connection shared between Shay and Saucony’s product team. Saucony will unveil the new Shay XC, a cross-country running shoe designed to commemorate Ryan’s legacy and love for the sport of running. The Shay XC will be available at running specialty retail stores in June 2008.

Woodward says, “The shoe and design center tie together. The genesis of that shoe was strictly about him coming in and sitting down with us and talking about design, performance characteristics and how we could help him run faster. He was an intelligent, thoughtful runner who was able to give feedback that was viable and useful. That’s how he inspired us.”

Saucony will also contribute to a memorial fund. Established by Alicia Craig Shay, Ryan’s wife,the Ryan Shay Memorial Fund is designed to honor Ryan’s passion to help disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities, as well as to fund American distance runners in need. Saucony has worked closely with Alicia to create the tributes. Woodward says, “We want to honor his memory with dignity and integrity.”

A plaque that will hang outside the Ryan Shay Product Creation Center reads, “Ryan Shay was an inspired and dedicated runner. He lived at the highest level as an athlete and as a person, inspiring the Saucony team and the entire running community. In his honor, we dedicate Saucony’s Product Creation Center to Ryan.”