Ryan and Team FD at the NYC Marathon, 11/7/10

Last weekend, Team First Descents captain Ryan Sutter completed the final event in his six month-long “10-10-10 Challenge,” and achieved his goal of raising $100,000 for the work of FD.  On a sun-drenched Sunday, with Brad Ludden, Ethan Zohn and a crew of spirited FD campers at his side, Ryan took on the New York City Marathon, finishing in VERY respectable 3:20:39.  For Ryan, it was the crowning accomplishment of an unparalleled year of training, challenge and triumph.

It’s impossible for us to express how profoundly we appreciate what Ryan has done to promote and help fund First Descents programming; what he has done this year truly defies description, and the depth of our gratitude is so vast that mere words don’t suffice.  Ryan, from the bottom of our hearts, we love you and are so proud that you have embraced our cause.

The Fire Fighter Combat Challenge, 8/28/10

Just to put Ryan’s achievement into perspective, here is a final summary of each of the events he competed in, along with his finishing times.  Read ’em and weep!

11/7/2010: New York City Marathon, New York, NY (3:20:39)

10/17/2010: Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon, Denver, CO (1:33:14, 162 out of 9139)

10/9/2010: 24 Hours of Moab, Duo Category. Moab, UT (7 laps each, 14th place)

9/12/2010: Nautica Malibu Triathlon, Spt. Distance. Malibu, CA (1:38:26, 47th out of 1524)

9/11/2010:Nautica Malibu Triathlon, Int. Distance. Malibu, CA (2:24:39, 88th out of 1085)

8/28/2010: SCOTT Fire Fighter Combat Challenge, Vail, CO (2 min 33 seconds)

8/14/2010: Leadville 100, Leadville, CO (8:31:05, 65th Overall)

7/25/2010: Ford Ironman Lake Placid, Lake Placid, NY (11:06:37, 351st Overall)

7/17/2010: XTERRA Mountain Championships, Beaver Creek, CO (2:46:03, 3rd in Category)

7/4/2010: Fire Cracker 50 Mtn Bike Race, Breckenridge, CO (4:33:57, 97th Overall)

6/5/2010 & 6/6/2010: Teva Mountain Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge, Vail, CO (2nd Place)

5/31/2010: Bolder Boulder, Boulder, CO (41:36, 852 place out of 50,000 plus)

At the Leadville 100, 8/14/10

We were so fortunate that Ryan, through his friendship with Brad, decided to devote so much time, effort and energy to First Descents.  Here’s Ryan, in his own words, on how FD changed him from his very first contact with our campers:

In April of 2008, I attended the Second Annual First Descents Charity Ball and Fundraiser, while my wife stayed home recovering from a hard pregnancy and the birth of our first child, Max.  It was at that Ball that I first made contact with the “campers” as they are known, the young adults who have attended the First Descents Adventure Camps.  I saw first hand the impact that FD had on their lives.  I listened to the stories they told as they spoke of their exhaustive battles against illness, the effects on their bodies, families, lives and dignity.  I laughed at their jokes and admired their will.  I held back tears as they spoke to the fear of dying and appreciated their courage as they justified their fears in the remembrance of fallen friends.  I left that night affected in ways that I did not anticipate.  I was not discouraged or afraid, depressed or angry.  I was inspired.  I had found a cause that touched my heart.  I wanted to do more.

Ryan, you have done more than you could possibly know.


We’re doing our best not to get too full of ourselves, but the fact is it’s been an incredible stretch for First Descents.  Team FD and the entire program are popping up in blogs, magazines and newspapers from coast to coast.  To quote our fearless leader, it’s totally sick.

Ryan Sutter continues to drum up amazing press for us with his 10-10-10 challenge, and recently a wire story covering his exploits was picked up by the Washington and San Francisco Examiners, as well as Newstimes.com.  It just never gets old.

We also earned a mention from Colorado-based foodie Claire Walter over at her blog, where she reviewed the culinary magic at the FD fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch a few weeks back.  Check out the photos of the night’s cuisine at your own risk!


The good people at Highcountry Living also gave us a nice shout-out recently.

Publications large and small – we love you all and can’t thank you enough for shining a light on what we do.


While many folks are spending their summers resting and relaxing at the beach, in backyards and hanging out by the pool, Ryan Sutter continues to bust his hump for First Descents, taking on epic athletic challenges in an effort to raise funds for our programs.

Most recently, over the July Fourth weekend, as most of us stuffed our faces with burgers and potato salad, Ryan competed in the Fire Cracker 50 Mountain Bike Race in Breckenridge, CO.  Next up is the XTerra Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, CO on July 17th.

A recent article over at Tonic, highlighting Ryan’s Herculean efforts in the name of raising funds for and awareness of the unique opportunity which FD provides young adults with cancer, reveals that there may be more than one person out there who is skeptical of the former reality TV star.  But we at FD know that Ryan is much, much more than just another pretty face, and that his heart and determination are right in line with the First Descents gestalt.

With each passing day, we’re seeing more and more coverage of Ryan’s 10.10.10 quest.  Most recently, he’s been featured on espn.com, as well as USAToday on-line. We couldn’t be prouder to have Ryan out there, stumping for FD and spreading the word about our work.

So check out the press, and however you see fit, offer Ryan your thanks and appreciation for what he’s doing for FD.  If you’re on Twitter, follow @ryansutter. Consider adding your own ten bucks to his fundraising efforts.

Long story short, he’s the man, and we love him.


Come on, admit it:  when you’re standing in the check-out line at the grocery store, you can’t stop yourself from peeking at the tabloids.  But something you probably didn’t expect to see in the current issue of US WEEKLY is First Descents champion Ryan Sutter and a plug for his 10-10-10 Challenge.

Check it out!!

In case you’ve missed the hype, Ryan is competing in 10 race/endurance events this year, in honor of FD’s 10th anniversary.  In so doing, he hopes to inspire 10,000 people to donate 10 dollars to the FD cause.  Have YOU donated yet?!