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Fresno State alumnus Ryan Stiner crosses the finish line of his 10-day, 206-mile run from San Francisco to Fresno on Nov. 8, 2014 that benefits Fresno State's autism center. (Darlene Wendels/Collegian file photo)

Fresno State alumnus to run 200 miles to raise awareness and funds for autism

Fresno State alumnus Ryan Stiner will be running from San Francisco to Fresno in hopes of raising $20,000 for the California Autism Center and Learning Group.

The event, Ryan’s Run, is a one-man run in which Stiner, 29, will run 200 miles in 10 days to raise awareness and funds for children with autism.

“I’m the one that’s doing the running and so it’s a one-man event, but it’s completed by so many people who are donating while I’m doing this run from San Francisco to Fresno,” Stiner said.

Ryan’s Run started in 2014 after Stiner saw a segment on CNN showcasing a map of California. The map gave him the idea to run from San Francisco to Fresno.

He said he wanted to run for a cause and not just for himself.

“I was at a place in my life where I was sort of reflecting on everything that had happened to me, both good and bad,” Stiner said. “Everything has been sort of about me for my whole life and that’s OK. There’s a time and place you need to be selfish. There’s also a time where you have to step outside and you’ve got to give back.”

Forty-five days later, Stiner was on his way from San Francisco to Fresno for his first Ryan’s Run route.

This year, Stiner will be starting his route on Nov. 3 at Fisherman’s Wharf and returning to Clovis on Nov. 12. On the last day, he will end his route by running two and a half miles from Selma Layne Park in Fresno to Railroad Park in Clovis.

Residents are welcomed to join Stiner on his run. Last year, Stiner said about 40 people walked and ran from Woodward Park to Fresno State with him.

Next year, Stiner is planning to run 250 miles in a 10-day timespan.

“Because truth be told, I can continuously run about 500 miles in 10 days,” Stiner said. “Two hundred miles is a trip. It’s not easy, but if I’m properly trained for this, I really believe that there’s a day, maybe 10 years down the road, where I’ll be able to get up [and] I’ll do 50 miles a day.”

This year, 100 percent of the proceeds earned from donations will be donated.

“We’re blown away by, you know, by the fact that he wants to continue doing this to support us and we’re in awe of him, and it’s just inspiring that he would want to take on this huge feat all in support of autism,” said Nicki Cerniglia, director of marketing and community relations at the autism center.

For Ryan’s Run in 2014 and 2015, Stiner said each run raised about $15,000. This year, the goal is $20,000, according to Ryan’s Run’s website.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as high as the last two years, unfortunately,” Stiner said. “If we hit $10,000, I’d be happy.”

According to Ryan’s Run GoFundMe account, $2,202 had been raised as of Oct. 16.

Cerniglia said with the funds donated this year, the autism center is hoping to open additional centers in Clovis and Fresno.

“Right now, we actually have a waitlist of probably about 150 kids, and we want to try to help those families as quickly as possible,” Cerniglia said. “We’ll definitely be using the funds raised to help us open additional centers in the area.”

The autism center currently has two locations – one in West Fresno, the other in Central Fresno. A third center will be opened in Merced in a couple of months, said Cerniglia.

Donations can be made on GoFundMe.com/ryansrun2016 or www.ryansrunforautism.com.