Ryan Barrow - Atlanta CPA Firm Senior Audit Manager, Ryan Barrow, is a sports fan through and through.

As a UGA grad, he’s always been a fan of the “Dawgs” and you can be sure to find him in Athens or on other SEC campuses on Saturdays in the fall. He’s been golfing for years and has even been able to knock a few courses off of his bucket list over the last couple years – including Whistling Straits and Erin Hills, both in Wisconsin. Ryan says he is “able to have a good time playing nearly any sport when the time calls,” but the one that he most recently fell in love with caught everyone, including himself, off guard.

During a physical nearly five years ago, Ryan’s doctor told him that he needed to exercise more regularly and lose close to 25 pounds. Although a bit skeptical to say the least, he decided to pick up running as an easy way to stay in shape and began to enjoy it much more than he ever expected. In fact, he lost those 25lbs in no time, but continued to run despite having achieved his goal. As Ryan jokes, “contrary to popular belief, diet and exercise actually DO work!”

Until last spring, Ryan had only been a casual runner, taking short breaks from the sport every few months. However, during one of his church’s small group meetings, a friend of his brought up how he had recently run a half marathon. Being a competitive person at heart, Ryan thought to himself “well, if he can do it, so can I,’ and decided in that moment he was going to commit to running the 13.1 miles. With his passion for UGA and Athens, he decided the AthHalf (Athens Half-Marathon) would be a natural fit for his first race – little did he know, it would only be the first of many races he would run over the coming months.

When he started training, Ryan wanted to make sure he was as prepared as possible. So being a numbers man, he divided the remaining 24-weeks leading up to the race into two 12-week programs. At the end of his first program he decided to run the exact course of the race to see how he would perform on race day. He ended up running the practice in only 1 hour and 52 minutes, an average of 8 minutes and 36 seconds per mile! After that, he set a minimum goal of 8 minutes and 15 seconds per mile, and a best-case goal of 8 minutes flat for the day of the actual race. As one of his good friends pointed out, however, he did not take into account how his practice run had been in the middle of July with high temperatures and humidity so he ended up performing much better at the race in October than he expected. At the end of the AthHalf, he had blown both of his goals out of the water with a total runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes, an average of 7 minutes and 43 seconds per mile – landing him in 150th place out of 1750 total runners in his first half marathon ever!

While on one of his business trips to Green Bay recently to visit a client, Ryan had mentioned to their Marketing Director that he had begun running competitively. As it turns out, the client had recently started sponsoring races in their communities – sporting branded giveaways like running shirts and socks. Later that trip, after going out for a “quick” 9-mile run around the Fox River, Ryan returned to the client to have them load him up with gear for his future races. Now every time he runs a race he makes sure to don some of their gear and has since ended up on their social media pages a few times.

Ryan ran his second race this past January – the 15k Hot Chocolate Run in downtown Atlanta. While he self-admittedly might have set his goal a little too high (who honestly knew that downtown was so full of hills), it was still a great race, placing him 179th out of 4,390 runners. When he’s not running, he loves to spend as much time as possible with Paige, his wife, and their two beautiful boys five year-old Carter and three year-old Colson. Last June, they also added a new four-legged member to their family – a weimaraner named Huckleberry (“Huck”), who has become a great running partner too. Ryan has mentioned that Huck helps him stay on track with his running regimen because the breed is extremely energetic and needs plenty of exercise to not only stay healthy, but also “avoid being destructive.”

He is looking forward to running his next race, which will be the Lake Hartwell Dam 10K in his hometown of Hartwell, Georgia. He’s already begun his preparations for the May 6th run, and is ready to set a new record for himself and see his family cheering him on at the finish line!