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Friends of Kyle Chase Johnson to Finish His Race

A year after Kyle Chase Johnson’s death, a group of his friends and family will finish the same race he was determined to complete.

“There has been an outpouring of love and support from those who want to run the race in his honor,” organizer and friend of Johnson’s Megan Prucnal said. “From people who knew him directly, to those who have heard of his story, everyone is uniting with one message: Run4Kyle.”

Johnson, a Penn State Class of 2012 graduate, died in May after running in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, collapsing  just 1.1 miles away from the finish line. It was later discovered that Johnson had a rare abnormality in his coronary artery system.

His tragic death was shocking to those who knew and loved Johnson. He had, in fact, run a similar race in  New York a few weeks earlier without any problem.

While at Penn State, Johnson was a Lion Ambassador, even serving as the director of internal relations during his senior year. He moved to Pittsburgh after graduating because of a job opportunity — he had been working at Deloitte & Touche and just finished his first of four tests to become a certified public accountant.

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His friends and family began conversing about their desire to run the half marathon to pay tribute to him. Prucnal created a Facebook event a few days ago because registration for the half marathon opened Tuesday. The Facebook event will continue to be updated with information as the race draws near.

Prucnal said she would like Johnson’s friends and family to be united in the race so she is recommending participants fill out their bib names as Run4Kyle. The bib name is due in part to the marathon’s character limit.

Although more (including T-Shirts and post-race events) will be planned in the future, Prucnal thought it was important to let friends and family of Johnson know that the registration window is now open. The race is seven months away, giving Johnson’s loved ones ample time to train to run 13.1 miles.

Prucnal said the real motivation behind Run4Kyle is to finish the race that he was so dedicated to running.

“On top of that, I think Run4Kyle really embraces all of our outlooks on the event. Personally, and I can speak for others as well, I never thought I would participate in a half marathon,” Prucnal said. “However, Kyle was the type of person to constantly push people to achieve their bests, even when they didn’t know they could. And frankly, he’s continuing to do so regardless of if he is physically with us anymore. Run4Kyle is about setting our individual apprehensions about running aside – and realizing we all can finish the race and pay respect to a truly great man.”

Prucnal has a fitting tribute to Johnson, who was described by those who knew him well as a guy who loved to relax with friends while drinking a cold beer, planned for the end of the race: “Crossing the finish and shotgunning one for the guy that impacted all of our lives. This one’s for you, Kyle Chase.”

About the Author

Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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