Sean Ryan has been known to make a bad first impression.
The director of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Door County Triathlon and this month's Fall 50 in Door County, makes little room in his persona for subtlety and softened edges.
"I can be abrasive," Ryan admitted with a chuckle. "I will say what I think, and sometimes I'll say what I think other people need to hear, for better or worse."
The workaholic whose phone is never off (more than once I've interviewed him only to realize 20 minutes in that he was in the middle of a run) is not afraid to challenge the accepted wisdom of the road racing industry or his own participants. Sometimes that can sound insulting - to runners, municipal officials or anyone who stands between him and improving one of his events.
When discussing his controversial decision to halt the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon mid-race after runners buckled under an unseasonably hot sun this past May, Ryan raised questions about the preparedness of today's endurance athletes.
"Twenty years ago the conditions at Cellcom would not have led to a cancellation," said the 41-year-old Ryan, who has finished nearly two dozen marathons and entered the racing world in the mid-1990s doing triathlons. "With the tremendous surge in the popularity of running and cycling events, the caliber of the athlete has changed, and not necessarily in a positive way."
Read Myles Dannhausen's entire profile of Sean Ryan in the October 2012 print edition of Silent Sports. Don't miss an issue. Subscribe online here.