Fresno State alum Ryan Stiner completes mega-marathon fundraiser

Fresno State alumnus Ryan Stiner crosses the finish line of his 10-day, 206-mile run from San Francisco to Fresno that benefits Fresno State's autism center.
Fresno State alumnus Ryan Stiner crosses the finish line of his 10-day, 206-mile run from San Francisco to Fresno that benefits Fresno State's autism center.

Fresno State alumnus Ryan Stiner crosses the finish line of his 10-day, 206-mile run from San Francisco to Fresno that benefits the Autism Center at Fresno State. Darlene Wendels / The Collegian

Ryan Stiner had his first big challenge on the third day of his 10-day run from San Francisco to Fresno. He was slated to run a 24-mile leg through Patterson Pass, mountainous terrain on the northwest corner of the Central Valley vaunted for its hilly structure and narrow roads.

Stiner, a Fresno State alum who trekked more than 200 miles as part of the Ryan Stiner Run For A Cause Project that raised money for the school’s Autism Center, said he planned to walk up steepest part of the pass.

Then he changed his mind and ran all the way through en route to completing a 10-day run that started at Fisherman’s Wharf on Oct. 30.

“It was just an epic battle the whole way,” Stiner said a day after he wrapped up the run, which, as of Sunday, has raised more than $10,000 in donations.

A crowd gathered at the Fresno State Amphitheatre on Saturday to welcome back Stiner, who also made an appearance with Fresno State President Joseph Castro and Mary Castro during the first quarter of Fresno State’s 38-24 Homecoming win against San Jose State.

“I wasn’t surprised by the welcome I got both at the amphitheater or at the stadium, because that’s indicative of how Fresno State students and alumni and faculty treat each other,” Stiner said.

“At the end of the day, we all do this together. It was very rewarding to see everyone there who took time out of their day to come support this cause and this crazy guy who’s running a bunch of miles to raise money.”

Stiner originally estimated it would take an average of 19 miles per day – a total of 190 miles – to reach Fresno by his 10-day goal. But after frontloading much of the mileage in the first few days, as well as course corrections and detours, the run totaled 206 miles.

On the last five miles of the run – a stretch from Woodward Park to Fresno State – Stiner was joined by a group of 20, including friends he hadn’t seen in years.

Stiner’s run was documented on Facebook. A two-minute video shot by a friend’s drone was posted on the project’s page and shows Stiner in a lime green sweatshirt running through the empty back roads of Dos Palos and Firebaugh.

The project came about spontaneously, Stiner said. He thought up the idea three weeks before the run and with the help of Mary Castro he launched the project in an interview on her KFSR radio show, “First Lady’s Focus.”

“I cannot say enough about her. She is an incredible woman and without her support, none of this would have happened,” he said.

Stiner, a Craig School of Business graduate, begins his new career at Morgan Stanley on Monday. After finishing the mega-marathon on Saturday, he had an eight-mile run penciled in for Sunday.

But after conquering 206 miles in 10 days, Stiner called an audible.

“No, I’m not going to run eight miles tomorrow [Sunday],” he said. “I’m going to take the day off. I’m sitting here with a friend, and I’ve got my feet up on the coffee table. I’m watching football and eating a bunch of fat things.”

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