Michael Ryan James
In 2016, I hopped on a treadmill and ran for the first time in a very long time. It was a struggle. I think I have a video that my wife recorded, but I’ll save myself the embarrassment in sharing it. Since that moment, running has become a part of my life. It helps me to manage the stress of everyday life and more importantly, it helps to control my late diagnosis type 1 diabetes. In 2019, exactly 2 years ago to this date, I completed my first road marathon. In 2020, I was introduced to trail running. I reconnected with nature and fell in love with the idea of exploring the naturally beautiful places that many don’t get the chance to experience. In 2021, I completed three 50ks, two 50 milers and my claim to fame: my first 100 miler finish at Grindstone. I opened the Spring of 2022 with the Pilot Mountain Marathon and followed the season up with what I call the Run Bum Tour: GDR --> Grayson 50 miler --> Quest for the Crest 50k. My first Run Bum event was in 2021 and Sean really sold me on his events ever since he let me run Quest 10k the day after Quest 50k for free just because I couldn't get enough. I love the places that Sean takes us and I don't hesitate to share this in facebook group. As for the Fall of 2022, I will be running The Barkley Fall Classic 50k and Andy's Backyard Ultra. I hope to win Andy's. As for 2023, I have already signed up for GDR! I have spent the better part of this year rehabbing my wife's ankle sprain and have since began coaching her. I just picked up my second client and hope to expand here given my background in physical therapy. Running is my world - I would love to be a part of the Run Bum Team. I’ll leave you with the motto that inspires every one of my adventures: Travel the world by foot, climb mountains, and find beauty in the distance. See y’all at the finish line!
Personal goals: My current goal is to go under 20 hours at GDR. I am running Andy's Backyard Ultra this fall where I hope to win (training hard for this!). In 2023, I plan to run Hellbender 100 or Cruel Jewel 100. I also have accumulated 2 Western States Lottery tickets after qualifying last year and this year which is the ultimate dream.
Academic Goals: I am leading a pilot research study at UNC Chapel Hill where I hope to learn more about return to running after stroke. My group will be analyzing running gait, symmetry, strength and balance in 5 individuals post-stroke and finding the best interventions that help them transition from harnessed treadmill running to overground running. Our goals are to not only be able to predict the ability to run after a neurological event but to determine the best interventions to help people return to running. The goal of this study to produce a clinical set of guidelines that physical therapists can use to help any higher level patients affected by stroke return to running. I hope to make an impact by giving back to the community what running has given to me: freedom, adventure in nature and the pursuit of happiness.
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