Running's elite will dash for cash in Shay memorial mile

Running's elite will dash for cash in Shay memorial mile

Provided by Petoskey News

On Saturday May 23, between 20 and 40 elite mile runners will gather in Charlevoix to commemorate runner phenom Ryan Shay, a Central Lake native who passed away while competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials marathon event in New York City.

"Ryan was a great runner, but also, by all accounts, he was a great person," said Matt Peterson, one of the organizers of the event. "We just wanted to have a fitting tribute to him."

This year will be the fourth annual Ryan Shay Elite Mile. The event attracts runners from all over the United States and will include runners from Australia and Kenya.

The race begins at the corner of M-66 and U.S. 31. The course is a straight shot down Bridge Street, and, after the runners coast down the hill to downtown Charlevoix, they will cross the finish line just south of the draw bridge.

"I always thought it would be pretty exciting to have a road mile down Bridge Street in Charlevoix," said Peterson. "There is probably going to be 15,000 people watching this."

Current top entrants include 2010 winner of the men's race Jeff See, an Ohio State alumnus and 2010 winner of the women's race Nicole Sifuentes, a University of Michigan alumnus.

The race will begin at 10:30 a.m. just prior to the Venetian Festival annual street parade in downtown Charlevoix, and will consist of approximately 10-20 runners in each men's and women's categories, said Peterson. Each top finisher will receive a prize of $1,000, second place $500 and third place will receive $250. Additionally, the lead runner at the half-mile mark will receive $250.

Earlier in the day will be the Jeff Drenth Memorial Foot Race, which consists of a 5K, a 10K and a mile race. Jeff Drenth graduated from Charlevoix High School in 1979 and competed at Central Michigan University. After graduating from CMU, Drenth began a professional running career at a club in Eugene, Ore. He passed away in 1986.

Register online for these runs at until 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 21. Register in person at Lake Michigan Beach Pavilion from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, July 22, and 6-8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 23.

For more information or to register, visit or contact Matt Peterson by phone at (231) 547-3407 or by email at [email protected]