The 1LT Michael L. Runyan 5K run and walk was begun 5 years ago in memory of 1LT Runyan after he was killed by an improvised explosive device July 21, 2010 while deployed in Iraq. This upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the Runyan5k will be shifting locations from Ashtabula to Ashland as we continue to run or walk on behalf of those who have sacrificed so much for us.
Michael Louis Runyan was born November 29, 1985. Michael was raised in Ashland, Ohio and attended Ashland High School participating in numerous organizations and sports including baseball, swimming, tennis, and golf. Graduating from AHS in May 2004, Michael continued his education at Xavier University majoring in criminal justice and participating in the university’s Reserved Officer Training Corps program. In May 2008, Michael graduated from Xavier and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. After completing the Infantry Officer Basic Course and Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Michael was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Michael’s unit was deployed to Iraq July 1, 2010. On July 21, 2010, while on patrol, Michael’s convoy came under attack and was struck by an improvised explosive device. First Lieutenant Michael L. Runyan was killed in action at the age of 24.
Over the first 5 years, the Runyan5k has attracted 250 to 350 runners and walkers annually while raising nearly $100,000 that has been donated to various military causes including the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Finally Home, and Engaging Vets through Sports and Rec. This year we are hoping to attract 300 to 500 runners and walkers while donating proceeds to four different causes, two of which are military.
The two military causes are K9S for Warriors and the Veterans Service Commission of Ashland County. K9S for Warriors is a national organization that provides service canines to veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service since 9/11. The Veterans Service Commission of Ashland County is a state agency dedicated to aiding Ohio veterans during times of need.
The third cause proceeds will benefit is funding research for Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Unfortunately 1LT Runyan’s father was diagnosed with this disease just one month before 1LT Runyan was killed. The fourth cause proceeds will benefit is the Michael L. Runyan Memorial scholarship which was begun in August of 2012 and is awarded to a graduating Ashland High School senior who will be pursuing a college degree.