Ryan Duffy is a high school hero.
Last week, as the Stratford High School senior and his teammates on the school’s cross country team were running in the Southwest Conference Championship, Ryan noticed a runner from another team face down on the ground. Ryan was in the top third of the field, in position to have the best time of his team. But when he spotted that sick runner, he ran all the way back to the start of the race to get help.
"It’s just a race and it's more than just a race to help them out," said Duffy.
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"My teammate Rory Cooper he was like 'Duff, what are you doing?' I just kept running just to get help. I just wanted to help the poor kid out," he said.
His heroics earned the high school senior special acknowledgment by Stratford’s Board of Education Monday night.
Duffy is the co-captain of team and everyone who knows him says they’re aren’t surprised he sacrificed his own race to help another runner.
"He embodies the whole entire town of Stratford and everything we want it to be about. He’s just a great leader and a great kid," said teammate Rory Cooper
"He’s concerned about others and he’s a kind kid. He’s a great kid," said Ryan’s mother Christine Duffy.
Ryan’s parents say they try to instill in all four of their sons the importance of being kind and treating others as they’d like to be treated, which is just what Ryan did last Wednesday.
"Live as if you’d want somebody to do something the same way you would do for them. Do the right thing. The Golden Rule. It’s really no more difficult than that," said John Duffy, Ryan’s father.
Stratford’s cross country coach says that Ryan’s heroics were evidence of the character of the young man who he says is one of the best runners of the team, if not the best, and he’s proud of his performance.
"He could’ve run right by the runner. Maybe a few did. Maybe some of them said 'I’m not going to stop.' But Ryan, the way he is, no I’m stopping. I’m going to get this kid medical attention then I’m going about my business," said Coach Maurice Scioletti.
Coach Scioletti says that student who got sick on the course had a severe case of dehydration and is going to be okay.
As for Ryan Duffy, he plans to continue the cross country season and he’s looking ahead to his other sport, baseball, which he hopes to play when he heads to college next year.