*Ryan Rusch (MSB ’10) regularly puts the best of superheroes to shame. Despite being vice president of operations for the Georgetown University Student Alumni Federal Credit Union, a member of a triathlon team, a finance and international business major and a Chinese minor, he still finds time to run 12 to 22 miles every Sunday. This past weekend though, he outdid himself running the 26.2-mile Marine Corps Marathon in Virginia and D.C. A one-man show, however, Ryan still likes to kick back. After completing the race – which takes runners down the Lee Highway, through Georgetown, along the National Mall and beyond – he indulged in his own personal Wheaties: pizza and beer.*

**When did you start training for the marathon?**

I started training in July. … I was in a four-month program straight out of Runner’s World Magazine.

**Did you run in high school?**

I never ran in high school. I hated running for as long as I can remember, but I had friends [who] had done the marathon in previous years and it seemed like a cool thing to do. I wanted to do it with them, which I did end up doing; it was a lot of fun.

**Did you end up actually racing the Marathon with these friends?**

Two of my friends ended up dropping out during training, which was a little disappointing, but one of the guys from my internship at Robert W. Baird [& Co.] flew out to D.C. to run the race with me, which was great.

**What inspired you to run the Marathon?**

Wow, I think it’s my friends that had done it. . Also seeing such excitement during training and afterward. All the screaming people on the streets. … I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of. It was really moving seeing veterans going through the marathon, especially seeing how frustrated some of them were with how they were doing, you could tell it was really tough.

**Did you train with other people, specifically any other Georgetown students?**

The first two months of training I did in Milwaukee while I was home and the majority of that I did alone. I had a friend [who] had run the Boston Marathon as a bandit [an unofficial participant] a few years ago, and so he did all my long runs with me and pushed me through it. When I got to school I picked up one of my buddies – Georgetown senior, Dan English (MSB ’10) – who was doing it as well, and we ran together quite a bit.

**What was going through your head during the last three miles of the race?**

The last three miles of the race? `Keep running, you’re almost there, one foot after the other.’ It’s totally mental, that’s why you go out on Sundays and run 12, 14, 22 miles. It’s an absolute grind for the last four, and knowing that you’ve done 22 before, that’s what got me through the race. I kept on telling myself, `Just get to 22, you know what that feels like, and then get some adrenaline and push your way through the last four.’

**What was going through your head as you passed through the finish line?**

Give me some water – I was absolutely exhausted. I probably felt more pain than happiness based on [my] legs, but after 10 minutes I snapped back into it and it was an awesome feeling knowing I completed it. Especially seeing all the people around me that had done the same thing, feeling part of something bigger was very cool. The endorphins are still coming.

**Would you do it again?**

Absolutely, I would do it again, I really want to. In the spring I am considering doing a half-Iron Man, it’s a little easier on your legs, not as much pounding with the swimming and the biking.

**What was the hardest part of the race?**

The hardest part came at about mile-22. You are on a stretch of bridge that is about two miles long. It had a relatively big ascent to it, and there were no water stations on the bridge, so for those two miles it was a grind. You were running on black cement, everyone started walking because they were exhausted. You really had to find it in you to keep going and run.

**Did you ever think you weren’t going to make it?**

No, no – I [knew] I was going to make it. One of the guys I was running with needed a little confidence boost, but I knew I was going to make it.

**What was your time?**

I wanted to break four hours, and I finished at 4:03:50, so just a few minutes over. Next time though – definitely next time.

**What was the recovery like, how are you feeling now?**

I was very sore today, but yesterday wasn’t that bad. I actually took a nap after the race, was a little out of it when I woke up, stood up, and was in a world of pain. I had completely [forgotten] that I had just finished running a marathon. In a few days I’ll be back into it, but I am going to take a week off and recover.

**So you’re not feeling like `I’m never going to run again?’**

No, not at all, it was a really cool experience.

**If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?**

Tiger Woods.

*- Interview by Kate Kauffman*”

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