Shannan comes from a very athletic and large family. He is the tenth sibling of the 16 “Running Ritchies" clan. Fourteen of the 16 competed in track and cross country competitions in both high school and college. Five received college scholarships including Shannan who garnered one from Ohio University.
Shannan started running early and fell in love with the distance races. At the tender age of seven, he demonstrated his athleticism, competing in age-restricted track meets and cross country competitions in both the mile and half-mile events. Sponsors were track clubs in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
When he entered Walsh Jesuit High School, he came under the wing of brother Pat Ritchie, coach of both track and cross country. An outstanding performer in high school, Shannan set the school record in the mile of 4:15, which still stands today.
On to Ohio University in 1985 where he lettered four years in track and three in cross country. Knee surgery in 1987 prevented him from competing in cross country that year. During his four years at Ohio, he won a number of honors. He was selected an All-American in cross country in both his junior and senior years, All-Mid America Conference in track in both the 5K and 10K events, and he holds the Bobcats 5K record of 14:10.
He was a two-time All-Ohio Champion in cross country--- a competition that pits all of the major colleges and universities in the state. No one had ever won three titles and in his senior year Shannan was narrowly beaten by Mark Croghan of Ohio State, a future Olympian in the steeplechase and a member of the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.
Shannon was inducted into the Walsh Jesuit and Ohio University Hall of Fame. He and his wife Amy have seven children and reside in Brecksville.