Metro, Featured Story

Ryan Reede Prepares To Run Marathon For Celtics Shamrock Foundation

Ryan Reede, A&S ’16, doesn’t run away from pain.

A 21-year-old junior from Los Angeles, Reede was a competitive triathlete in high school, and nearly turned pro during his senior year.

Triathlons are notorious for pushing athletes to their limits. They consist of a half-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride, and finish off with a 5K race. At his high school in Manhattan Beach, Reede would train for the circuit six hours each day, shuffling from morning practice to class, then to the streets for a bike ride, and eventually return to run at the track before bed each night. A frequent part of his daily routine included ‘Brick Workouts’—a triathlon exercise that combines the elements of cycling and running. Reede would bike for five minutes on a stationary bike on the track before quickly transitioning into a mile-long sprint. He would then repeat the exercise five times.

“I enjoyed seeing what my body was capable of doing,” Reede said. “I wanted to know how fast I could push myself.”

As a member of the “Junior Elite Series” circuit, Reede competed across the U.S., including Des Moines, Dallas, San Diego, Richmond, and Cincinnati. A competitive swimmer, Reede focused his talents on open water training in the ocean, while improving his cycling in his free time on weekends. He was regularly one of the first athletes to complete the swimming and cycling portions of the race, which was enough to earn him an 11th place finish at the Junior Nationals competition. But he wanted more.

“The only thing I was missing was the run,” he said.

Now, set to begin his daily 10-mile run around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir nearly a week before participating in the 2015 Boston Marathon, Reede isn’t concerned with his usual 7:20 mile pace—all he wants is to log in the miles. His body doesn’t react well to the long-distance running, and he has frequent flare-ups of shin splints, runner’s knee, and tendonitis that have previously plagued him from pounding the pavement. His natural home is in the pool, and he knows he is not built to run marathons. Yet, he likes the idea of the challenge.

“I know consistency is important for me and that my body can’t usually handle that kind of mileage,” he said. “But I learned through triathlons how to read what is going on with my body, and I know I’ll be ready.”

He ran through the pain.

He arrives at TD Garden at 3:30 p.m., which is about four hours before game time. On this particular night, Reede has an inside look at how the Boston Celtics operate behind the scenes. He has been a ball boy for the Celtics since his freshman year, but his love for the team began when he attended games with his father and other family members.

Between the locker room and retrieving balls across the court, Reede has interacted with a number of high profile players, such as Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. Before the game and hours after the final buzzer, Reede performs various tasks ranging from moving players’ cars to going out and buying things for them. Reede sees all of the players in their personal lives, surrounded by their families, friends, and fellow teammates.

“You encounter a number of very trustworthy things while dealing with high-profile athletes,” Reede said. “A lot of the guys are very quiet, but they notice that you’re working hard to make sure they’re happy and everything goes as planned.”

Rajon Rondo took notice.

The former point guard for the Celtics took Reede and a group of other ball boys out to dinner at the waterfront Empire Lounge in the South End. Rondo was one of the players who also hosts underprivileged youth groups across New England at the Garden. Known as the “Shamrock Foundation,” the team gives disadvantaged kids the opportunity to sit courtside while players warm up prior to the game, as well as greeting them during starting lineups. Players like Rondo travel to elementary schools in the city’s most troubled neighborhoods and host events with the Celtics’ mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, which are designed to keep kids in school and off of the streets through sports.

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“Kelly Olynyk will go out to local school gyms and really put on a show for the kids,” Reede said. “He talks about his experience as an all-American at Gonzaga and staying in school and working hard. The story really speaks to the younger kids, especially in Boston and how they love sports.”

In the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, a dozen Celtics athletes were inspired to run the race, including assistant coach Jamie Young and former Celtics beat reporter Emily Austen. In order to enter, the group decided to raise money for the Celtics’ Shamrock Foundation.

“These were people I interacted with on a daily basis,” Reede said. “It was a great accomplishment for them, and I knew it was something I had to do before I graduated from this school and city.”

Feeling the contagious energy from the other marathon runners, Reede and his friend Kyle Rohde emailed the Celtics’ Foundation back in November. With no prior marathon experience, the two were accepted to run the race in March.

Reede had less than a month to train for a full-length marathon and raise $5,000.

The pool is his natural home.

After spending two and a half years as a member of BC’s Division I Swimming team, Reede finds himself back in the pool once again—but this time for a different purpose.

Reede began his training for the 2015 Boston Marathon in the water in order to get legs back in shape. Reede would do long kick sets at very low resistance and a high lactate threshold, working his calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Within the first two weeks, he would go on 3 to 4 mile runs in between pool workouts. He eventually grew to doing a 10K race twice a week. Now, with less than a week before the race, Reede is at a point where his legs are close to returning to full strength—operating on 8-10 miles every day.

“I’m not taking the normal, prescribed course to running a marathon,” Reede said. “I’m doing my own plan.”

Reede’s brief training stint has not come without its own set of challenges. While outside of the pool, he frequently gets shooting pains on the side of his leg, which make it hard to put pressure on his right foot.

Fortunately, as ball boy, Reede has access to some of the best doctors in sports medicine at his disposal. Todd Campbell, one of the main trainers on the Celtics’ staff, is also a veteran of the Boston Marathon and gave some free advice to Reede. He’s now eating a diet loaded with potassium and electrolytes, while running twice a day and constantly stretching with a foam roller. He’s working to train as smart as possible, by gradually increasing his mileage without getting hurt.

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If you ask Reede what his biggest challenge has been in training for a full 26.2-mile race, his answer will probably surprise you.

“The fundraising,” he said. “It is definitely not my forte.”

Reede has until the end of the month in order to raise his estimated $5,000 to benefit the Shamrock Foundation. He currently is at $1,170, but is hopeful that he will reach his goal in time. The rest of the team has raised a combined $68,000, with hopes of reaching the $100,000 mark. With his experience churning out triathlons, Reede is more worried about helping the foundation as much as he can than completing the arduous race.

With the 2015 Boston Marathon set for Monday, Reede has no expectations. He will be using his GPS watch to help him keep track of his distance and ideally hold a pace of about 7:20 for the initial and final six miles of the course. He wants to run a complete 26 miles and stay healthy throughout the race. Looking forward, Reede would like to stay injury-free and hit the 3:05 mark in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon in the future.

Even if his shins start firing up or his hip flexor suddenly gets tight during the middle of the race, you can count on him to keep running.

“I’m going to power through, because I know I need to run through it.”

Featured Images by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor

April 16, 2015