Finding The Right Distance


When I looked at the results of the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, I recognized two of the men in the top 10 — Glenn Randall (Dartmouth) and Mike Cassidy (Penn).

I will admit, I had missed Cassidy before. Despite three top-50 finishes in the ING New York City Marathon, he wasn’t a star in the League. He did compete at Heps Cross Country in his Quaker career, but never was a threat to earn All-Ivy status.

But this time in Philadelphia, I missed another name — Ryan Johns. But a former Columbia runner, Julie Quinn, posted a comment that we’d missed Johns, who’d finished eighth in Philly. Then another of Johns’ former Lion teammates, Kyle Merber, took to Twitter:

“A former Columbia teammate of mine, Ryan Johns, ran 2:21 at Philly. This was a guy who walked on and never broke 15 in college or ran at Heps. But he has clicked away many 100+ mile weeks the last few years and has not stopped working. He also ran across Europe once. Literally.”

Johns — a native of Olympia, Wash. — had graduated in 2009 and embarked upon a 2,542-mile journey. He wrote on his blog, Ryan Runs Europe:

“Combining my passion for architecture with my love of distance running, I ran from Amsterdam to Athens over the course of 130 days. Extensive planning went into the trip, and the end route brought me through seven countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. I averaged 20 miles per day.”

Take a look at the blog of his journey. Sometimes the best stories don’t come from the stars.

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