Saucony has created a formal tribute to Ryan Shay, a Saucony sponsored athlete who died suddenly during the Mens 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 Ryans memory.
Saucony president Richie Woodward explains the thinking behind the tribute. “We asked how can we do something that is meaningful and represents Ryans 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 Shays name to the design center and a signature running shoe reflects the connection shared between Shay and Sauconys product team. Saucony will unveil the new Shay XC, a cross-country running shoe designed to commemorate Ryans 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. Thats how he inspired us.”
Saucony will also contribute to a memorial fund. Established by Alicia Craig Shay, Ryans wife,the Ryan Shay Memorial Fund is designed to honor Ryans 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 Sauconys Product Creation Center to Ryan.”