The man who collapsed and died after finishing the Rock the Parkway half-marathon in Kansas City on Saturday was an avid runner with no apparent health problems.
Brandon Lee “Flash” Russell, 34, of North Kansas City, was a graduate of St. Pius X High School and the University of Missouri.
He was a senior contract analyst at Burns & McDonnell, which sponsored the race to benefit Science City at Union Station.
“This tragic event is deeply upsetting to us all,” a company statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brandon’s family and friends.”
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Russell’s obituary said his “life ended way too soon doing one of the things he loved most, running.”
Brad Ziegler of KC Running Company said a medical tent with a doctor and staff was established within 10 yards of the finish line of the race and that EMTs were stationed nearby as well, prepared to help anyone who appeared to have a medical issue. Witnesses said EMTs attended to Russell immediately and pushed onlookers back.
Kristi Widmar, a spokeswoman for Burns & McDonnell, said an ambulance arrived quickly after Russell collapsed.
Russell’s loved ones were awaiting autopsy results on the cause of death.
A Facebook post announced a gathering to remember Russell from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at St. Pius, 1500 N.E. 42nd Terrace in Kansas City.
“Brandon’s family and friends would like to get everyone together at St. Pius X Football field on Tuesday to celebrate Brandon. Please wear Warriors, Royals, Chiefs, or Mizzou gear and celebrate all the things he did, and celebrate the best fiancé, friend, nephew, brother, son any of us could ever ask for,” the posting said.
A GoFundMe page has been created to establish an annual race in Russell’s honor. As of Monday evening, it had raised more than $26,000.
“Brandon’s first love was his fiancee, Taryn (Klein) and his second love was running,” the obituary said.
Russell and Klein had set a wedding date of Aug. 5.
“Brandon had a zest for life and was a best friend to everyone,” the obituary continued. “Family and friends were very important to him. He also enjoyed reading and was a movie buff. Brandon was an avid sports fan, especially the Mizzou Tigers, Royals and Chiefs. Brandon was charismatic, witty, and his personality was contagious. Brandon was also extremely handsome, thus was the president and CEO of Handsome Inc.”
The service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, 4737 N. Cleveland Ave., Kansas City.