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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Go Farther

Ryon Lane runs to help those who can't.

Ryon Lane runs to help those who can't.

By: Janelle LoBello

Name: Ryon Lane
Injury: Fractured C4, herniated disk
between C5 and C6
Mechanism of Injury: Swimming accident
Date of Injury: September 18, 2008
Website: www.ryonlane.com

Ryon Lane, 34, had a significant high-level spinal injury in September of 2008 during a swimming accident. (His spinal cord was spared).

(Go to Lane's website to learn more about the day that changed him forever.)

Running for those who can't

"I have always run because I love the sport and the physical and mental freedom it provides," says Lane on his blog. Now I run because I can and to help those who can't."

Lane has full intentions of continuing to push the limits. When asked if he would compete in more marathons, Lane laughs, "Unless another injury prevents it, yes!"

"My goal is to get back into ultra marathons," says Lane, who competed in the ultra marathons, which can be anywhere from 50-100 plus miles, prior to his inury. "If I was going to do ultras, I would want to get into iron man distance and challenge myself, eight to nine hour type of stuff. I have a goal of doing a 50-mile race and a 100-mile race running in the next year."

Even though Lane has these goals, he knows after all, that is he only human.


Lane’s "farther" tattoo pushes him to accomplish more.

"When the fracture happened in my neck, there was a sobering reality that I'm not invincible," explains Lane. "But at the same time, from my hospital bed even before I had surgery, I told my doctors, ‘I'm clearly not paralyzed. Fix me so I can continue to run ultra marathons.' I wanted durable stuff put into my neck so I could run and not have issues."

Constant reminder
Lane was so determined to overcome his injury, he had "farther" tattooed on his left inner wrist in green ink as a reminder of what he wanted to accomplish in life.

"In fact, I tried to get a tattoo artist to come into the hospital," laughs Lane. "The hospital staff informed me that that was not a possibility!"

"The tattoo was one of the things that I knew was important to me as a constant reminder of "A," how lucky I was and "B," the fact that I need to pay forward what has been bestowed upon me," explains Lane. "That I should never forget what has happened because it is a part of who I have become. And I didn't want that to change. I wasn't entirely happy with who I was before this all happened. This gave me the inspiration and the excuse to be a better and different person."

Fellow Team Reeve athletes sign Lane’s shirt before the marathon.

Fellow Team Reeve athletes sign Lane's shirt before the marathon.

As is defying the odds of completing the 2010 ING New York City Marathon for Team Reeve weren't enough, Lane's ultimate goal wasn't just to cross the finish line, but to do so in less than three hours.

"It was a very fulfilling outcome to a goal that I had set for myself, beyond question it was," says Lane of his 2:58.37 time. "In the long distance running world, when you ask someone their time and they tell you it was under three hours, they know you're a good runner. That's the threshold for whether or not you are someone who takes running seriously, or someone who just jogs."

Lane never just jogs.

"I knew that I had it in me, so I wanted to accomplish that. It was very satisfying. But now that it's done, it's an increment; it's a place holder for me. I can do more. Forgive my cliché but I can go farther. It's a good first step."

Learn more
Inspired by Ryon's story? Want to join Team Reeve? You don't have to be an athlete to become a member. Click here
Get to know some more of our Team Reeve athletes.

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship areencouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.