SYD TREFIAK -PORT PERRY
Because Syd is a modest guy, I will write this for him….
Syd answered a Facebook inquiry in 2009, when Ryan asked for any interested guides/wannabe guides that could help him on his new career as a Paratriathlete. Neither had met, or spoken before. Syd had heard of Ryan’s ALS fundraising efforts, but that was the extent of their previous knowledge of each other. Ryan of course googled Syd and found out that this guy was the real deal-not just somebody eager to kill him on a tandem!!
The two met in June 2009, in July 2009 they started off with a bang as they completed the Peterborough 1/2 Iron distance triathlon. Since then they have become great friends and have completed a number of large races:
2009 & 2011 Peterborough 1/2 Iron Distance Tri
2009 NYC Tri-USA National Paratri Championships -2nd PC Division
2009 & 2010 Ironman 70.3 World Championships
2010 Ironman USA Lake Placid
2011 Canadian National Paratriathlon Champs (OLY) 1st place!
The two have their sights set on many big races including defending their National Championship, running Around the Bay 30k, aiming for the 2012 Ironman Florida and one day getting to the Hawaii Ironman. A major focus of the two is to make the 2016 Paralympic Games for team Canada.
Syd is a husband and a father to the lovely Miss Ruby:) He is a teacher, a coach and now a great friend and fellow advocate for the blind and ALS.
Syd has literally changed Ryan’s life, but of course he’d never admit it!
HEATHER MOLNAR -OWEN SOUND
“I was (and still am) new to running when I met Ryan through his wife Mindy in the Spring of 2011. She told me about her husband who was visually impaired, new to town, and wanted to run outside with someone who could guide him visually. She assured me it wasn’t a hard job, you just guide him around things as you run, easy as pie. I thought wow – what a great challenge and a great way to help someone. (Of course, she didn’t mention right away that he was a 7-time Ironman!) I only had one half and one full marathon under my belt and was running nowhere NEAR the speed Ryan was used to running so I was pretty nervous about it but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to learn and help someone out.
When we met for our first 5km run, he re-assured me that he was just happy to be running outside with a guide and not stuck inside on the treadmill and we would go my speed –which we did. I still remember how terrified I was when he hooked the tether to my waist and we started running down the sidewalk, somewhat in sync. I had run with a group before but this was a whole new territory. At our first stop light, I said “now cross the street” and he crossed towards me and I crossed towards him. Lesson #1 was learned. Not long after that, we did 19km and I believe it is still my fastest 19km to date. Being Ryan’s guide wasn’t slowing me down one bit!
Ryan quickly grew to be more of a coach to ME than a visually impaired runner that I needed to guide. I learned more from Ryan in a few months than I had learned in 2 years of running and reading about the sport. He helped me with my breathing, conquering hills, long distance and the nutrition aspect as well. Although he relied on me for eyes and sense of direction, I relied on him to push me harder and faster and naturally, become a better athlete because of it. I credit much of my running improvements & achievements over the last year to training with Ryan.
Ryan always remained positive and encouraging even when I had bad days and wanted to give up. He is a great coach, an amazing athlete and above all that, a very kind and genuine person.”
GREG NICOL-OWEN SOUND
Greg Nicol, is a dad and husband who really likes to swim, bike or run. A two time Ironman finisher and part time race announcer with the Subaru Triathlon Series met up with Ryan through a local contact. Although only having a few chances to run with a rope – our conversations and abilities are similar.
ROBBIE VANDERWERF -OWEN SOUND
DAVE LAWSON -OWEN SOUND
JASON BILLOWS- OTTAWA
TREVOR KLERKS -OWEN SOUND
JASON RAMBOER -CHATHAM
DANIEL BROUSSEAU -CHATHAM
TODD WILEY -WASHINGTON DC.
JANET BOWLS -CHATHAM
MINDY BOWLS -OWEN SOUND
WAYNE PLAQUET -CHATHAM