FRANKLIN PARK, Pa. - Family and friends will run the Pittsburgh half-marathon on Sunday in honor of a 23-year-old man who died after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing during last year's race.
Kyle Johnson collapsed in front of paramedics near the Mile 12 marker of the half-marathon.
“He was fun, loving and loved life. I thought he would be so sad if he thought we all just curled up,” said his mom Mary Beth Deal.
Deal, Johnson’s stepdad and several of Johnson’s friends look forward to running the race. The race has become a metaphor for Deal’s healing process.
“It has been one day at a time, one hour at a time, and the race will be one step at a time,” she said.
Johnson died of a genetic abnormality of the coronary arteries.
Prior to the Pittsburgh race, Johnson had run in the New York half-marathon and was in good shape.
Kyle Johnson was a graduate of North Allegheny and played football for the Tigers. He graduated from Penn State University.
Last year, 133 Pittsburgh marathon runners required some sort of medical attention. Twenty-eight of those runners were transported to local hospitals.
A fundraiser for the Kyle Chase Johnson Memorial Trustee Scholarship fund will take place at Jergel’s from 1-5 Saturday.
“When I think about him, I just want him to be proud of me,” said Deal.