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.
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)
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.