by Max Brantley
Unbeknownst to me until I heard last night from a local distance runner, Ryan has also made bold statements about his mountain climbing prowess — a claim to have made 38 or 39 climbs of 14,000-foot peaks. Being a "Fourteener" is a big deal in that rarified fitness community apparently.
Ryan's claims have risen to national attention, here in an article in the New York Times. And here's a lengthy look by The Atlantic. Here's a roundup from Gawker. He expresses mystification at the scrutiny. It shouldn't be a surprise. Fool me once, etc.
My friend commented:
As a sub 2:30 marathoner and longtime adventure sport freak, Ryan's lies about running sub 3 hours really shows that this guy is a pathological liar. But I am also aware that a lot of debate is brewing in the cult-like mountain climbing community about his claim that his has climbed Fourteeners at least 38 times. That means that he has climbed most of the 14,000 feet mountain peaks in the U.S., mostly in Colorado. [Subsequent reporting clarifies that Ryan says he climbed some of the same peaks multiple times, about 20 separate mountains.]
The reason that most real climbers believe it is a lie is because none of the mountaineers in the Fourteeners club have ever heard of him. And taking the time achieve a feat like this would mean that a big chunk of his life would have totally been dedicated to mountain climbing, something that his political resume doesn't account for.
As someone who spent nearly 15 years of my life running road races and marathons, I can just about remember all of my more than 300 races and can recount most of my actual times. Like his marathon lies, Ryan's mountain climbing feats does not include any specific details — which tells me that something is amiss.
Likewise, his boast that he now only runs 10 milers rather than marathons has "big lie" written all over it. In fact, not much of what he has said about his athletic prowess meets the standard of truth.