GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Jake Kinzler fulfilled his promise Saturday afternoon after he vowed to run the 25k River Bank Run in honor of his father.
Six years ago on Sunday, a healthy Jason Kinzler died of a heart attack while running in the race near the 14-mile mark. His 14-year-old son, Jake decided to finish the run for him -- in his father's shoes.
A little ways away from the 14 mile mark, Jake's mother was waiting for him to swap sneakers. He'd trade in his running shoes for his father's, the same ones he wore during the race in 2011.
"I was thinking about him just running there next to me and what it was like for him running in these shoes, and what it would have been like if he would have been able to continue," Jake Kinzler said.
"He was so in his zone, and so ready to have those on his feet and when he put them on, he just flew and I'm sure that his dad carried him," Kristi Kinzler said. "I'm sure he did."
Jake's older sister, Hannah, also ran alongside him wearing Team Kinzler shirts.
After Jason's death, the family started the Jason Kinzler First Family Foundation to provide guidance, support and financial assistance to other families with young children who unexpectedly lose a primary caregiver.
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