ABOUT RYAN CLIFFORD

The Adventure Never Stops

Recent Ultras & Long Distance Runs

Desert Solstice Track Invitational  (12/12/20): 100 Mile Track - 13:11:34 

Solo Run Across Long Island  (7/7/20): 131 Mile Road - 21:47:52 

END-TRAILS (10/27/19): 12 Hour Trail - 1st Place 

Cayuga Trail (06/01/19): 50 Mile Trail - 7:51:41 & 4th Place

Ryan Clifford is a Graduate Assistant Cross Country/Track & Field Coach at Minot State University (Minot, North Dakota) specializing in Men’s and Women’s distance running. Additionally, he serves as the team’s academic advisor and is pursuing Master’s Degrees in Sports Management and Business Management from the University. Clifford also serves as a private coach, has begun his semi-professional career as an ultramarathon runner, and completed his goal of running across the length of Long Island (131 miles) in under 22 hours this past summer.

Clifford saw a great amount of success in his first year coaching. He was integral in guiding Freshman Whitney Hanson to All-NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) honors in cross country, which marked the first All-Conference honor in program history. He also assisted in 10 DII era school records, one All-Time School record (Whitney Hanson in 800m), and 59 Division II era top-10 performances (25 in cross country and 34 in track and field). 


Prior to his time at Minot, Clifford competed for 4 years as a collegiate athlete at Mansfield University (Mansfield, PA) as a distance runner in both the Cross Country and Track & Field programs. While there, he saw unprecedented success as an All-PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) runner in 2017 and 2018, All-Region Honoree in 2017 and 2018, and a NCAA national qualifier in 2018 for Cross Country. He was also a two-time All-PSAC runner in 2018 in both the 3K and 5K. He was a 3-time All-PSAC runner in the spring of 2019 (5K and 10K) and was the PSAC 3K Steeplechase Champion (2019). Clifford was named a member of the PSAC Spring Top 10 for his athletic and academic successes (2019). The Mansfield Mountaineers Athletic Department also named Clifford as the Athlete of the Year for the Fall and Winter seasons 3 times, as well as the Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2 years in a row.

Beyond his impressive college athletic career, Clifford also graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Graphic Design. Clifford finished with a 3.8 GPA (consistently on the Dean’s List) all while balancing his responsibilities as a Head Resident Assistant and Resident Assistant at the University for 3 years.

 

Immediately following his undergraduate studies, Clifford jumped right into his dreams of ultra-marathon running, completing the Cayuga Trails 50 Miler, in June 2019 in just under 8 hours. The course climbed nearly 8,000 feet of elevation in 50 miles with temperatures reaching the 80’s, causing many of the top competitors to drop out. Clifford managed to finish 4th at the USATF Trail Championships, despite the hills and weather conditions.  He then decided try his hand at the End Trails 12 Hour Race (Turtle Hook State Park, North Dakota) in October. Despite the 22 degree average temperature, Clifford managed to accumulate 80 miles, completely self-supported. He won the event by multiple laps. End Trails, is what gave Clifford the final boost in confidence necessary to attempt his cross island solo run.

 

To add to the challenge, Clifford overcame the adversity of an Achilles tendonitis issue which was ongoing for 2 months in the beginning part of the year. With that being said, he has been healthier than ever since mid-March, and slowly but steadily building up his mileage to be able to handle the endeavor.

Clifford’s training regimen over the past few months has been tailored to his goal. The distance of 131 miles is no easy feat, especially in under 24 hours. Two weeks before Clifford’s training is set to taper, he will have completed a 12 week cycle of adding a mile a run per day per week, with two 30 mile long runs, and 6 sequential weeks of over 100 miles. Ryan is eagerly waiting for July 7th and to set forth on a once in a lifetime adventure. He is looking to raise a minimum of $5,000 for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation from the run, which follows suit with over a decade of support he’s provided to the organization amongst other local non-profit and charity groups, including but not limited to, the Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout), Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island, and Island Harvest Food Bank.

 

Simply, put Ryan John Clifford is an exemplary athlete, scholar, philanthropist, and person. His goal beyond completion of his graduate degree is to further pursue his athletic career, coach, own and operate his own business, and continue to spread his passion for running, charity, and living life to the fullest. Join Ryan in supporting his island-wide run for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation and the many adventures yet to come!

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