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Friends remember fallen half-marathon runner

Thousands of people ran in the Little Rock Marathon last weekend, but one runner did not cross the finish line struggling on the course.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Thousands of people ran in the Little Rock Marathon last weekend, but one runner did not cross the finish line struggling on the course.

Michael Kelly, 37, died Sunday while running the half marathon race. He collapsed at mile 11. Friends say he and his wife, Ebony, ran the race together.

Race leaders say it took less than three minutes to get to Kelly and did everything possible to save him.

The coroner says it will take 6-8 weeks to do further examination from toxicology reports.

Tim Stoddard worked with Kelly at UALR in the information technology department. He says for months, Kelly exercised in the campus gym on his lunch break to prepare.

“He's been planning this for quite some time. Eating healthy as well and trying to shed some of that weight. He was determined to do that marathon," said Stoddard.

Kelly was a member of Mosaic Church in Little Church. He worked on the church’s tech team.

"Mike was a great guy. He gave time and talent here as service. It's a tragic loss for our church," said Pastor Mark DeYmaz.

The pastor says the congregation won’t forget how hard Kelly worked to prepare for the half marathon.

"You don't expect that on such a banner day for the city; especially how Mike and Ebony had trained for so long and looked forward to that day. What you expect is to celebrate, not to grieve the loss of someone you love," said DeYmaz.

Even though Kelly didn’t complete the half marathon, his friends say he deserves a gold medal for being a good person.

Kelly’s funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Mosaic Church on Colonel Glenn.
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