Malmin is a ‘nerd on wheels’ both on and off the cross country course

Junior Ryan Malmin is fast, whether he’s running an 8K or riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

David McCoy

Cross country runner” is only one of many titles that can be placed in front of Ryan Malmin’s name.

Biker, physics major, postal employee impersonator and outdoorsman might give a better picture.

Who says cross country runners only knew how to run?

“He’s like a nerd on wheels,” teammate Andrew Carlson said, referring to Malmin’s fascination with motorcycles. “That’s what I call him, at least. It’s just a joke.”

Away from Les Bolstad Cross Country Course and Bierman athletics complex, Malmin is a rare blend of contradicting personalities.

When he’s not immersed in vector calculus or studying for his quantum mechanics class, he said, he likes to unwind by watching “Orange County Choppers” with his brother.

He said he never misses taking his 2001 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide on an annual trip with his male relatives to the well-known rally held every August in Sturgis, S.D.

“It’s kind of like our male-bonding thing,” Malmin said. “I go the whole nine yards. I wear the bandana and don’t shave for a couple weeks beforehand. When my friends see me after I come back, they get a real kick out of it.”

Solidly set as Minnesota’s second-best runner heading into this weekend’s Big Ten Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, Malmin is currently coming off the best race of his career – a second-place finish Oct. 16 at the Jim Drews Invitational in Lacrosse, Wis.

Malmin clocked a career-best 24:30 in the 8K race.

He said the showing two weekends ago was the culmination of much hard work.

Shunning a summer job or maybe a cross country ride, Malmin said he put his whole focus on training.

He said he ran 105 miles a week to prepare for the fall season.

“He made a real sustained effort,” coach Steven Plasencia said. “Whereas some guys go on these luxurious vacations to train in the mountains, Malmin stayed in town and pounded the streets right here.”

Plasencia said Malmin is a very competitive person.

“I’ve heard stories about football video games where he was ready to jump across a table at somebody,” Plasencia said. “He’s got an edge to him.”

Although Malmin has a competitive edge, he’s not without a softer side.

At the team’s cross country camp this summer, Malmin and several other runners bought a bunch of postal uniforms from a garage sale.

“They wore those things around forever,” Plasencia said.

At camp, Malmin displayed another facet of his multidimensional character – outdoorsmanship.

Although he said he misses deer hunting – which he hasn’t been able to do in college because the season is during NCAA Regionals – Malmin recently had a chance to go fishing with Plasencia and teammate Luke Bryant.

“(Malmin)’s almost as bad a fisherman as I am,” Plasencia said. “We both sat in the boat as Luke Bryant pulls in fish after fish and we can’t even get a nibble. He thinks he’s a fisherman, but he’s terrible.”

Maybe he better stick to his other hobbies.