Ryan Smith

Ryan was active as a child but did not start running until his sophomore year in high school. The PE class he was in had an annual physical fitness assessment, & Ryan ran faster than anyone else in the school. A couple days later the cross country coach reached out & asked him to join the team. The timing was perfect because Ryan’s dad had just signed up to participate in a marathon challenge at work. After speaking to the cross country coach Ryan decided he would tag along with his dad during that weekend’s upcoming 10-mile training run. Despite the fact that he had not run more than a mile in his life Ryan says he felt great & decided to join the team. During this time he also had a passion for tinkering with cars. He loved to work on his car and then take it out to see how fast it could go. After graduating from high school Ryan bought his own set of tools and continued to pursue his passion. It was not until he was offered a steady job in the oil and gas industry that he decided to return to running & racing. Ryan says he ran on his own and was putting in 80-90 miles/week but then a friend introduced him to Al Lawrence. Al suggested Ryan cut his mileage, but increase the intensity of some of his workouts. Within a couple months he was setting new PRs and running faster than he ever thought possible. Al’s nickname for Ryan was “Smitty.” Instead of his actual name, every workout Al provided had “Smitty” at the top of the page. He says Al was always the Voice of Reason when he would start thinking about doing something crazy. Al would remind Ryan of the long term goal & encourage him to not get sidetracked by something that sounded fun but would not ultimately help him improve. In 2014 Ryan purchased a camera and began learning how to take beautiful pictures. He loves photographing scenes from nature and has traveled across the US in pursuit of new images. He even set up a company called Running The World Photography to showcase his work. With the passing of his beloved Coach, Ryan is thankful for all Al taught him; not just in running but in life. Al watched Ryan grow from a young man who raced cars to a gentleman who is one of the fastest athletes in the city.