The Rogue Valley lost one of its iconic runners when former U.S. marathon champion Ric Sayre of Ashland collapsed and died Tuesday, reportedly following a recreational run.

The Rogue Valley lost one of its iconic runners when former U.S. marathon champion Ric Sayre of Ashland collapsed and died Tuesday, reportedly following a recreational run.

The cause of the 57-year-old's death was not immediately available.

Among Sayre's notable accomplishments were a victory in the inaugural Los Angeles Marathon in 1986, when he ran a personal-best 2 hours, 12 minutes, 59 seconds.

He was one of four American men to qualify for the marathon Olympic Trials five times, and, in addition to capturing the national championship in 1987, he represented the U.S. in the Pan American Games that year.

Sayre competed in 50 marathons nationally and internationally, winning 12 of them, but he also was frequent competitor in local events. He was the 1982 Pear Blossom Run champion in Medford and blew away fields in other events such as the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb and the Tough as Nails 10-mile run on Anderson Butte.

Sayre worked at Ashland Food Co-op for 14 years. He was nearing the end of his third three-year term as the staff representative to the board of directors.

— Tim Trower