The late Ric Sayre, two-time NAIA All-American in cross country for the and one of only four American men to qualify for five Olympic marathon trials, will be remembered at two local events in the next few weeks.
A memorial gathering is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, 2610 Ley Drive, Akron, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.
Sayre, who died of a heart attack June 21 at age 57 following a run near his home in Ashland, OR, also will be remembered Sept. 10 during the annual Ric Sayre Invitational Cross Country Meet at .
“He was the first All-American that Walsh had,” said Dan McCallion, longtime Walsh track and cross country coach. “He was the benchmark for Walsh turning around and becoming known as an athletic institution.”
Sayre, an Akron native, “also showed what dedication could do,” McCallion said. “He was a good high school runner (at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron)”, but not the great one he developed into a few years later.
He made strides as a runner while attending Indian River Community College in Florida and Valdosta State in Georgia, where his goal was gaining knowledge in fields that interested him, not in earning degrees.
Sayre was in his mid-20s when he enrolled at Walsh and began participating in its athletic program.
While running for Walsh, Sayre was named an NAIA All-American in cross country in 1979 and 1980. His marathon mark of 2:17.17 is still a Walsh record and not likely to be broken, according to McCallion.
Sayre placed 29th at the Boston Marathon in a field of more than 8,000 runners in 1979. He won a Los Angeles Marathon in the 1980s with a time of 2:12:59.
In 1987, he was the United States National Marathon Champion and represented the United States in the Pan American Games.
He was ranked as high as third in United States and ninth in the world among marathon runners.
Sayre, a resident of Ashland, OR, since 1981, credited his vegetarian diet with helping him rebound quickly after marathons. He also promoted organic food and served as staff director at the Ashland Food Co-op since 2002.