Ryan Yeatts continues with tradition of Virginia Tech Remembrance run from far away
Ryan Yeatts no longer lives in the New River Valley. He doesn’t have to, though. Now in Cincinnati, Yeatts still makes an effort to show respect for the 32 Hokies who lost their lives on April 16, 2007.
Graduating a year ago from Radford University, Yeatts currently resides in Ohio, working as a logistics account executive at Total Quality Logistics. Originally from Roanoke, Va., Yeatts has always held a close hand with the Virginia Tech family and, much like everyone else in the nation was impacted by the horrific massacre that happened on the Hokie campus six years ago.
During his time at RU, Yeatts was president of the Radford runners club. Each year, he organized a team to go up to Tech and participate in the remembrance run held throughout the streets of the campus. Being such close schools in location, running together with the Tech community evoked an overall showing of respect that Yeatts wanted to make certain to portray.
“I was not there at Tech when the incident happened, and I didn’t know the victims who were affected,” said Yeatts. “This run is just a way to remember.”
At his brokerage firm office up north, Yeatts has made an effort to continue the tradition, although he is miles away from the official event. At the office, Yeatts has continued his involvement with running and is a member of the TQL running club. Upon realizing he would not be able to come to Blacksburg to participate in the on campus run, Yeatts decided to bring the race to Cincinnati.
The run started out solo. Yeatts planned to run the 3.2 miles by himself. However, after putting a memo in the running club’s weekly newsletter requesting the club to participate in a remembrance run to honor those who passed on April 16, the event took off. The run made the news and trickled around the Cincinnati area.
“After telling the president of the runners club that I was going to do this run, he told other people and it went viral after that,” said Yeatts. “Those people never knew Tech did a 5K, until I wanted to do it up here.”
Yeatts had run the Remembrance Run at Virginia Tech every year since it started in 2008 to show his support for the surrounding community. He did not want to stop the tradition just because he had moved to Cincinnati.
“This is not about me, it’s about trying to show Cincinnati that Tech can be seen in a different light,” said Yeatts. “I wanted to show it doesn’t always have to be negative memories, but that positive can come out of such an awful event.”
Though Yeatts was never a student at Tech, he has always been a Tech fan. Growing up close to the university and knowing many people who went to college there, the influence of the school has been monumental on his life.
The run at Virginia Tech was held Saturday, April 13 at 9 a.m. For Yeatts, it took place Tuesday, April 16 at 5:45 p.m. on TQL’s one-mile track that circles the office. The event attracted around 30 people.
Yeatts attempted to replicate the run in Blacksburg. Maroon and orange balloons were released, as well as three other blue balloons for those who passed in the recent tragic Boston Marathon incident. The group even held a 32 minute silence breach in memory of the lives lost.
Yeatts is determined to extend the support for the victims, their families and the Hokie community beyond the borders of Virginia.
“It’s just a little bit of home I’m bringing up here,” said Yeatts.
As a happy alumni of RU, Yeatts will continue to stay tuned with the latest throughout the New River Valley. For years to come, he plans to keep running in remembrance, keeping the tradition alive wherever he goes.