It is often said that the kids of today are just too self-centered. They care only about themselves and what they can get handed to them. Well sure, that can be said of some of them, but not most and certainly not about 12-year-old South Bostonian Ronan Manning. If the name sounds familiar, it should. He’s the boy; no, make that ‘young man’ who organized the very successful effort to have school supplies donated to children, who would otherwise not get all they needed in their classrooms. He didn’t just do it once; he did it two years in a row. Each time, he put in a lot of hard work, got the neighborhood involved, including adults and other kids as well and spent nearly all of his spare time, after school and weekends, making sure he got what was needed. He then made sure it was distributed to the schools where the need was the greatest. He also had the help of his younger sister Keira, who is 9 years old and attends South Boston Catholic Academy.
Recently, he managed to pull off another amazing accomplishment and, as expected, it was on behalf of and for the benefit of others. He took part in the annual ‘Best Buddies Challenge’. For those not familiar with this very prestigious event, it’s a bicycle race that raises money to assist intellectually challenged children and kids with other disabilities. This is a cause that is important to Ronan, which will help these kids get jobs in the future. Ronan was part of the group that rode 100 miles over some tough terrain. This is a route and race that is tough to handle even for many trained adult bicyclists. For a child of 12 years old to be able to participate, finish and finish well is an incredible athletic feat. The race started in Boston with more than 2000 riders and the winding course finished near the Kennedy Family compound in Hyannis.
This is a grueling race when the weather is good, but on this day the temperature was in the 50’s, the rain was coming down like a water fall and the wind was howling. But though the elements were against him, Ronan refused to quit. It’s what he trained for and most importantly, it was for a good cause. This was a charity ride that he planned to finish, and he did it with in time.
Riding along with Ronan was his dad, Dan Manning, who has become an accomplished bicyclist in his own right in recent years. Ronan had asked his Dad if they could do this race together and the answer was an enthusiastic ‘Yes’. What a great activity for a father and son to be part of together. Dan was there all the way urging on his son from start to finish. And, there to encourage Ronan and his dad Dan was Richard Fries. Fries is Director of Cycling Experience, which plays a major role in putting together and running the Best Buddies Challenge. South Boston Today had the opportunity to speak with him to get his take on Ronan’s success. There could be no doubt how impressed he was with what Ronan was able to do. Fries was amazed at how Ronan could reach way down deep, tap into his reserves and use every bit of his physical strength and endurance, and also his amazing mental discipline. It took everything he could muster to push on across that 100-mile race, but quitting was not an option for young Ronan. Said Richard Fries – “What Ronan did was almost beyond comprehension. He is one determined young man”.
We asked Ronan if he would be taking on the challenges working for other good causes and without hesitation, he would because he feels he can always do more. Ronan will be attending Boston C ollege High School’s Arrupe Division in the fall. Once again, congratulations are in order for Ronan Manning for all the wonderful charity work he does to benefit others. The saying ‘A man for others’ certainly describes this caring young man. Also to be praised is his father who was right there with his son working hard for the same cause and encouraging this great kid every mile of the way.