How do you go from loathing anything faster than a slight jog to running one of the world’s premier marathons? Just ask Political Director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO Ryan Stanton.
Before meeting his wife, Kayla, Ryan merely tolerated running as part of his crossfit training – a commitment he paired with his enthusiasm for weight lifting. When he and Kayla started dating, however, he found himself having to run just to spend a day with her. As they were saving for their wedding, he sacrificed CrossFit in favor of triathalons. “Little did I know triathalons were more expensive than CrossFit!” he recalled. Luckily, the transition wasn’t a complete loss; during the process, Ryan fell in love with running and hasn’t looked back since.
The first race he and Kayla ran together was a “Fun Run,” in Sayville. The following summer, they registered for the NYS Park Summer Run Series and have made a tradition of spending Kayla’s birthday weekend running the Utica Boilermaker 15k Road Race.
Recently, in May of 2017, Ryan completed his fist Ironman 70.3 in St. Croix, a triathalon which ends in a half marathon. With this coming November, the TCS NYC Marathon marks Ryan’s first full marathon.
For Ryan, there was no better way to tackle this challenge than as a member of Team Mission United. “Mission United is an extremely noble cause – one that is absolutely worthy of support from the community,” he said. Ryan recognizes the opportunity as a chance to honor those like his own grandfather who graduated from Annapolis. He continued, “Long Island has one of the largest veteran communities in the nation. I’m supporting my neighbors and folks across Long Island who need these services.” These services include everything from case management and career training to emergency financial aid for veterans and their families.
Running in support of these services makes Ryan proud as an advocate for both Team Mission United and the Long Island Federation of Labor. “I am so appreciative and honored to run not only on behalf of Mission United, but also on behalf of the labor movement. “This would not be possible without John Durso and Roger Clayman opening the door to this opportunity. I just happen to be willing to walk through it.”
“I work closely with Ryan, and speak with him frequently about the races he completes with his wife,” said Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and United Way of Long Island Board Member. “Ryan has not only shown an immense dedication to running, but an understanding of the struggles veterans face when they return home. I have complete confidence that he is the perfect person to represent our organization, and veterans, come race day.”
In past races, Ryan has often found himself left in the dust by his wife. “Kayla is so much faster than me!” he admitted. Running with Team Mission United just might give him the chance to keep up with her. “Our times together are really the races. She runs her race, I run mine, and one day I’m going to catch her.” With such an important cause driving Ryan forward, November 5th may very well be that day.