A 4-mile beach run (usually carrying gear and wearing combat boots) is typical of what Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens would have done with his brother, John Owens, of Deerfield Beach, when Ryan trained to become a Navy SEAL.
The brothers would indeed serve the U.S. as part of the elite Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Forces (SEALs) program. John, who is deployed now, was five years older than Ryan.
At age 36, on Jan. 29, 2017, Ryan was in Yemen with SEAL Team 6. He died of wounds he endured during a nighttime raid. It was Ryan’s 12th deployment as a SEAL, and his 18th year in the U.S. Navy.
To honor and celebrate his brother’s life, John started The Ryan Owens Memorial Run.
Money raised from the run will go to build a memorial for Ryan in Lauderdale by the Sea, said Holly Owens, John’s wife and Ryan’s sister-in-law. The cost to run or walk the 4-mile timed beach course is $40 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger who can participate in a 1-mile run. The run commences with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, at 149 SE 21st Ave. in Deerfield Beach.
This is the first year of The Ryan Owens Memorial Run. The City of Deerfield Beach has agreed to co-sponsor what will become an annual race. And while proceeds from the 2017 event will go to Ryan’s memorial, future races will help pay for other memorials and benefit families of fallen Navy SEALs, Holly says.
Ryan, who grew up in Coral Springs, was larger than life, she says.
“He was and is a superhero. Everything [he and John] did was extreme in life,” Holly says. “The family is very competitive and has always raced together. I think that is why John decided to do this and thought it was the best way to go about remembering Ryan and honoring and celebrating him every year.”
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, Ryan qualified to wear many medals, including a Silver Star w/Combat “V” Navy.
The Owens family is planning more than just the run. All registered runners can enjoy a free after-party in the beach parking lot, complete with food trucks, a beer garden and live music.
Later that evening, there will be a dinner and silent auction at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, 2425 Maya Palm Drive, Boca Raton. Tickets for the dinner and auction, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, are $140 until Sept. 1; then they increase in price to $150.
To sign up for the race or dinner or learn more about Ryan and his legacy, go to https://nakedwarriorproject.com/.