My guest today is someone I used to work with and have gotten to know quite well over the years.
During our time working together, he went through some pretty big ups and downs in his running life.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Ryan James Cloke today.
Going In Blind
Ryan James Cloke was not very athletic while growing up in England.
In 2011, he moved with a girlfriend to the United States and that is when he began to discover he had an athletic side.
Ryan James ran his first half marathon in December of 2015.
He had only begun running 6 short months prior to that half.
Ryan James followed a “one size fits all” training plan and went into the race without much of a plan.
To this day, that race is still one of his fastest half marathons.
He attributes that to not overthinking anything and/or knowing what he was capable of therefore he didn’t hold back.
His running snowballed from there.
Team In Training
Team in Training came on Ryan James’ radar fairly early on in his running.
He and his best running friend were both teachers.
They had a student that had passed away from leukemia.
That student was the inspiration behind joining Team in Training.
He ran his first marathon in 2016 and has since run numerous races for the charity while fundraising.
Regardless of his performance in a race, Ryan James is inspired to finish because he is running for something larger than himself.
Fundraising is his chance to raise awareness and money for a cause close to his heart.
Think Outside The Box
Ryan James has experience fundraising, yet the experience doesn’t always make the task easier.
He has found that the more he does it, the more he “drains the well.”
In order to continue successfully raising money he has learned to rebrand/repackage his pitch each time.
Since he is from the U.K. originally, Ryan James has found that it has been helpful to pit America vs. the U.K.
With friends from each country, Ryan James has made a deal that he would wear sunglasses with either the American flag or the U.K. one depending on whom raised more.
Ryan James focuses on making sure that each fundraiser is novel or unique in some way.
One of his most successful fundraisers, was when local businesses donated prizes which would add value, and hence more tickets were sold.
Individually Ryan James has raised over $10,000 and as a team close to $40,000.
In a few short years, Ryan James went from novice runner to having serious time goals, to injured, then to a no-pressure runner.
In short, he has come full circle with his running expectations.
Having an unexpected injury permanently altered the way Ryan James viewed the sport.
In April of 2018, Ryan James was pushing hard during a marathon and felt something was “off” after finishing the race.
He continued to train for a fall marathon, but then was forced to faced reality and needed to figure out what was going on.
Soon after the diagnostics, Ryan James was diagnosed with a labral tear.
Surgery may be inevitable in the future, but for now, he is focused on exercises to strengthen the injured area.
Being faced with an injury forced Ryan James to become more in tune with his body and know when to back off.
A Silver Lining
Ryan James certainly wasn’t happy about getting injured, but he has since been able to see the silver lining.
Prior to getting injured, he was intensely focused on his goals.
In hindsight, had he not gotten hurt, he may have eventually faced burnout and wanting to quit running altogether.
Ryan James has learned that if you listen to your body it will give you a lot of information.
Once you have that information you can choose how to respond to it.
Ryan James has gotten adept at listening and has since added consistent strength and cross-training.
Running may be a solo sport, but the community has proven to Ryan James that the support knows no limits.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Ryan James Cloke runs for others as a member of Team in Training. An unexpected injury forced him to change the way he trained and viewed the sport, but it didn't lessen his motivation. He is in this sport for the long haul. Click To Tweet
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