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Monumental Feature: Father says running has had life-changing results on son with autism

Posted at 1:43 PM, Nov 01, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- This weekend’s Monumental Marathon is more than just a race for one father-son duo.

Rob Rueff says running has been life-changing for his 14-year-old son, Ryan, who has autism.

Ryan loves to run.

“He’d be on the first floor of our house running around our family room and our kitchen,” said Rob. “That’s how we woke up in the morning is because of the thumping of his feet.”

A couple of years ago, Ryan started tagging along with his dad – and Rob said he couldn’t get him to slow down. The two have been running together ever since.

Ryan has high-functioning autism and wants to be treated like the other kids – and running has been something that’s helped him focus.

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For Ryan, the Monumental Half-Marathon is more than just another race – he has personal goals that his running coach, Ben Houston has been training him to reach.

“I’m going to let my dad worry about the traffic and the time,’ said Ryan.

“We’ve talked about the keys to him having a great race,” said Rob. “He needs to stay with me. I’ll worry about the pace. I’ll worry about guiding us around people, and he just runs and has fun.”

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Rob says since Ryan started running with him, he’s made strides with his school work, his races and has opened up more than they ever imagined.

“I was downstairs, and he was upstairs, and I yelled at him and said ‘Hey, I’m leaving and I love you.” And he replied, ‘I love you too,’ and he had never said I love you to either my wife or me until that morning.

Saturday’s Monumental Marathon begins at 8 a.m.

Watch the video above to hear more of Ryan's story. 

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