Annual Run for Ryan returns to DU


Kellen Stepler | Staff Writer

The 10th Annual Run for Ryan, a 5K race held on Duquesne’s campus, will be held to pay tribute to Sgt. Ryan Lane. Lane, a fallen marine, was killed in 2009 on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Army 1st Lt. Joseph Vitti and marine 1st Lt. Chris Cavanaugh co-founded the Run for Ryan after hearing of Lane’s sacrifice. The event was to ensure that he would never be forgotten.

Vitti and Cavanaugh, both former Duquesne students, heard about Lane’s death walking back from ROTC practice one morning. The pair was walking back to their dorm room when a Duquesne maintenance worker, Lane’s aunt, told them about his death.

Vitti recalls that hearing about Lane’s death “hit hard,” and helped him realize what “the ultimate sacrifice” really meant.

Lane’s actions are “what a hero is,” Vitti said.

While Lane did not attend Duquesne, he is a Pittsburgh native and graduated from Carrick High School. On July 22, 2002, he reported to Parris Island, South Carolina to start his career as a United States Marine.

Jonathan Miller, president of the Sgt. Ryan Lane Platoon, hopes that the Run for Ryan will raise awareness for veterans in the Pittsburgh community, and will raise money for military personnel.

“Military personnel are not always given sufficient support and opportunities for their services that they provide for this country, so the Sgt. Ryan Platoon is designed to assist in both economic and public support,” Miller said.

The Run for Ryan is in its tenth year, but the platoon also incorporated a new event, called the Combat Fitness Challenge, which is in its second year. That event’s goal was to raise money and awareness for the Run for Ryan and a scholarship that the group oversees.

Miller told The Duke in October that the scholarship “supports student veterans from all branches of service and is awarded to a different student every year.”

Miller also noted the type of person Lane was. While Lane was dedicated to the Marines, Miller says that his friends and family came first, and that he enjoyed spending time with them. Lane spent his free time fishing, 4-wheeling and watching the Pens play.

“Ryan truly loved life and all it had to offer,” said Miller.

“The Run for Ryan events connects to the Catholic ethic of the common good and the altruistic principles that is guided by religion.” said Miller. “Duquesne University prides itself as a Catholic University, centering around the spiritual leadership and guidance for others who need it the most.”

The event is also more than just trying to run a fast time.

“The event gathers people from the community together, symbolizing the unity and collective outreach efforts to rally ourselves to a great cause,” said Miller.

The run will be held on April 27 outside of the Brottier Commons. Registration begins at 8 a.m., the run will start at 9:30 a.m. The race costs $25 to participate.