Group finishes remaining miles after friend dies running Lawrence marathon

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

What may look like a regular walk through the park is more than meets the eye. One group walked nearly 3 miles in memory of a friend.

“We were a command team in Iraq together,” friend Dena Goble said.

Retired Col. Chris Wilson died from a heart attack while running a marathon in Lawrence on Saturday. He was 2.6 miles away from the finish line.

On Thursday evening, nearly 200 people, some who didn't even know Wilson, met at Sedgwick County Park to finish the last 2.6 miles of the race for him.

“We’ve got people from multiple states. Even myself, I’m not from this town. It’s just awesome that all these people pulled together to support such an awesome guy,” Veteran Suicide Awareness 22 Buddy Check President. Joshua Kegley said.

Friends and family members say that Chris loved to run. So, they couldn’t think of a better way to honor his memory than by hitting the pavement and finishing his marathon for him.

“He always had a smile for you. He’d give the shirt off his back for you. He tried to help everybody in their running and he helped people with problems,” Veteran Suicide Awareness 22 Buddy Check Events Coordinator, Tony Brown said.

Wilson's death took family and friends by surprise. The 53-year-old father of two was considered in good health and an active outdoorsman. Wilson recently retired from service.

“One of our mottos is ‘We are our brother’s keeper.’ And that’s what we plan on doing is being there even though he’s not here to continue. We’re here to help the family and continue helping,” Kegley said.

Now friends hope by finishing his marathon, they can continue to share Wilson’s memory.

Donations in in memory of Wilson may be made to Homeless Veterans or Veterans Suicide Awareness.

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