Swansea & Iowa State Alumni Ryan Larson talks about his experience with Swansea Uni’s running team in 1999

Hi Ryan,
Could you give us some background information on yourself?

I attended Iowa State University which sent, and as far as I know still sends, a fair amount of students to Swansea University for study abroad semesters.

I was a political science and history major there, although after graduation I mostly worked in church settings before realizing it was time for a change and making the switch to what I’m doing now, which is studying to be a lawyer at University of Notre Dame Law School.

I did run for Iowa State. That is a pretty big name running school. Jon Brown ran there for a couple of years. But I was kind of in over my head. So I ran some insane workouts but never raced to the level of most of my teammates.

I’ve got 3k/5k/10k/half marathon PRs of 9:03/15:40/32:43/ and 1:12:49.1999 Swansea University team photo at Braid Hills Edinburgh

1999 Swansea University team photo at Braid Hills Edinburgh



What first drew you to Swansea University, and to joining the running club?

As part of my undergrad studies I had a lot of interest in European politics and history so that was a big part of drawing me to study in Swansea.

Since Iowa State had connections to Swansea University it was easier to make the arrangements to study there than anyplace else in the UK or Ireland. It was also cheaper; all I had to pay besides travel costs was my regular Iowa State tuition and fees.

Once I was there it was just natural to run with the club, and the Swansea Harriers, as much as possible because of my interest in running and racing.

How was your experience of the club, and how was you accommodated?
There were about 20-30 students active in the club. A few of us competed for the Harriers as well, my running with the Harriers and with the club kind of blend together in my memory.

We went to the pub with the club runners once a week after our runs, and then we also had some big end of the year party that we took a bus out to.

There were a handful of foreign students in the club and all the Welsh and English runners did a really good job of making us feel welcome.
Ryan Larson Racing at Braid Hills Cross Country 1999

Ryan Larson Racing at Braid Hills Cross Country 1999

Traveling to Edinburgh for the Braids Hill Race is a tradition firmly and fondly in place,
How was your experience of Edinburgh?

I’m pretty sure we were 4th out of 9 scoring teams. I was our second runner (I want to say in 34th place and in 35:48, for some reason Braids is one of those races that I just remember really well).

With our third and fourth place guys close behind me and our top runner (Sully?, Sullivan? something like that being pretty far ahead somewhere in the top 10.

Could you discuss a stand-out fond memory from your time with the running club?
I can think of two memories that really stand out. One was from the trip for the Braids race. After the race we snuck into the park surrounding Arthur’s Seat.

That involved climbing at least one fairly impressive wall. I don’t think we reached the top because whichever way we take eventually led us to a pretty much sheer grass/rock face.

Another is doing a kill your partner (or maybe they called it fuck your buddy) fartlek run with the top runners from the University club and some of the harriers.

All of the 10 or so us there run about a 9 mile loop with everybody throwing in one surge at whatever pace and of whatever length they wanted. We just hammered on each other.

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