Athlete Bios

Ryan Jara

Men's Marathon

Qualifying Time: 2:17:19
Qualifying Race: 2023 Bakline's McKirdy Micro Marathon

Ryan Jara
Date of Birth


Age on Race Day


Current Residence

Gorham, ME


Commerce Twp., MI

High School

Walled Lake Northern - Michigan

Current Affiliation

Valor TC Portland


Maine Medical Center - Radiology Coordinator

Marathon PB


Social Media
First Trials qualification


Number of attempts to qualify



Hope College

Career Highlights
Two 3rd place finishes at Vermont City Marathon: 2022 (2:23) and 2023 (2:20); running for the winning Maine-iacs team at 2016 Cabot Trail Relay in Nova Scotia; 2nd at 2015 Killarney 10K; 2nd at 2012 Glass City Marathon (2:34); completing Mount Desert Island Marathon (the most scenic marathon I have run)
My wife, Claire, and I have three wonderful boys, Walter (6), Callaway (2.5) and Norman (1.5). My dad is why I run and, aside from my wife and family, he is the other reason why I am here this weekend. We love to do things as a family so, in the winter, it means XC skiing when we can. In the summers we like to hike, garden and golf with my oldest son Walter.
Greatest Accomplishment
Finding balance in life. Family. Work. Hobbies. Health. Balancing a full family with two working parents can be challenging at times and being able to find that balance is something my wife and I are quite proud of.
Interesting Story
I was stuck at a 2:34 marathon PR for over a decade. A year after my first child, and years of my wife Claire telling me I could 2:25, I made breaking 2:30 a high priority. With consistency, my race times improved and, at 35 years old with two kids, I PRed by more than 11 minutes at the 2022 Vermont City Marathon (2:23). A year later, we're at three kids and I went back to VCM, trying to qualify. Though I missed the goal and went 2:20, it was that day, crossing the finish line, I realized what my wife thought: that I was capable to make the 2:18 OTQ. So, this past fall we went to a fast course at McKirdys Marathon and I hit that OTQ standard and am still to this day on Cloud 9. I wouldn’t say I had adversity to overcome but managing life at 36 years old (three kids and a wife who works full time in the medical field) sure has its moments. Balance and family is the most important thing for me. With that in mind, it means doing the majority of my runs when my family goes to bed, after 7:30 p.m. Sometimes it means doing a quick turnaround and running the next morning at 4 a.m. I have learned to be quite flexible with my training which has allowed me to get to where I am.
Favorite Book

Anything from Elephant and Piggie series

Favorite Movie

Top Gun, MI: Fallout, and Tin Cup

Favorite TV Show/Series

How I Met Your Mother

Favorite Song

Anything Tom Petty

Favorite Post-race Indulgence

Pizza, craft beer, and a box of cereal of my children's choice the next morning

Favorite Breakfast

Toasted Everything bagel with cream cheese

Favorite Motivational Quote
“Play Like a Champion Today”
Favorite Running Memory
In 2011, my debut marathon in St. Louis, I was aiming for sub 2:30. My dad, a 9-minute miler, ran the last 4 miles of the race with me to keep me from walking. At one point, I asked him to slow down as I closed in on a 3+ hr. marathon. I can still hear his laugh when I asked him to slow down.