Ryan Alexander came up with quite an interesting New Year’s Resolution for 2021.
The 25-year-old Claremore native vowed to run every day this year, and perhaps even more intriguing is the fact he has kept up his promise.
As of Monday night, Alexander had logged 130 runs this year, totaling 627.9 miles in nearly 75 hours.
One of those runs happened to be the Claremore Hope Race 10K on Saturday morning at Claremore Lake Park.
Alexander, a Claremore High and Rogers State University alum, won the 6.22-mile race easily, clocking in at 37 minutes, 12 seconds – 10:06 ahead of second-place finishers Ezriyah Armendariz and Yophiyyah Fish (47:18).
Beth Koch of Claremore (51:07) and Shaun Barrett of Adair (55:14) rounded out the top five.
“That was where I was trying to stay at,” said Alexander, who bested 21 other runners. “I think my range from fastest to slowest (mile) was like nine seconds. There was no one to really chase, but the guy who was leading the race on the bike was really keeping it consistent. It was about staying in my groove and staying focused.”
His dominance was no surprise when considering his background in the sport of running.
Alexander ran four years of cross-country and track for the Hillcats from 2014-2018, specializing in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter track events with personal bests of 15:39 and 32:50, respectively. Before that, he made several state-meet appearances in cross-country and track as a Zebra under coach Eric Wiens.
He estimated he has been running since he was a fifth-grader at Justus-Tiawah.
“Since I graduated, it’s been nice to run however far you want whenever you want,” Alexander said. “But also you have to stay focused and determined to stay consistent with your training because you don’t have people to run with every day. Working full time, you have to make time to either run in the morning or after work.”
Alexander wasn’t out to set any new records Saturday, though. He treated the Claremore Hope Race 10K as a workout, aiming to keep his heartrate below 170 beats per minute throughout the duration of his run.
In the process of doing so, he reached the halfway point in 18:35, which would’ve won the 5K race by more than a minute. Brandon Armendariz won that race in 19:55.
“I felt really comfortable,” Alexander said. “I don’t think I ever eclipsed 170. I kind of stuck around 162-168, which is really comfortable, and I tried to drink a lot of water a couple of days before because I didn’t know how humid it would be.”
Although winning his hometown 5K was a special moment for Alexander, it pales in comparison to what he hopes to accomplish later this year.
He is averaging eight runs and 48 miles per week but plans to steadily increase his volume to 80 miles for 8-10 weeks as he trains for a marathon in the fall.
Alexander hopes to break the 2:40 barrier in the 26.22-mile venture, and though he doesn’t have a race picked out just yet, the Route 66 Marathon on Nov. 21 in Tulsa is on his radar.
“That’s definitely an option,” Alexander said. “I’d like to rep my home state, and my family could come out and watch.”