Runner collapses, dies just moments after crossing finish line at half-marathon
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (WDAF) -- "He was just so charismatic and had a contagious personality and smile," said a beaming Taryn Klein-Russell as she remembered her fiance, Brandon Russell. Russell died after finishing the "Rock the Parkway" half-marathon on Saturday.
The two first met on a blind date.
"I remember when we first started dating it was like everything he said, every text, just everything was just right on! He just couldn't do any wrong. He was the perfect guy," said Taryn.
Taryn also says her "perfect guy" was loving, caring and very supportive to his family and friends.
"Nobody had anything bad to say about Brandon and he never said anything bad about anyone," Taryn told FOX 4's Robert Townsend during an interview Monday.
"He was always full of energy. He was always a little bit outrageous. Always interesting, always had something good to say, always had a good story and you know he was always on the go," said Evan Russell about his big brother.
On Saturday, Russell was once again on the go, enjoying his second love "running."
"He was definitely an avid runner. He ran in all kinds of races and marathons. I think it like showed a lot of his personality that no matter what he did, it was 100 percent," said Taryn.
Taryn says her 34-old-fiance was having a good time running in the annual Rock The Parkway half-marathon in Kansas City.
"I saw him at mile 10, and he ran by, and he looked great and he just waved and smile and kept going," said Taryn.
Sadly, just moments after crossing the finish line, we're told Russell suddenly collapsed and later died.
"Just the hardest thing that happen to anyone. He had just recently gotten a promotion at Burns and McDowell where he was a senior contract analyst and co-owner. We were going to move to Houston and then get married, " says Taryn with tears streaming down her face.
"It is very difficult for all of us. Things happen for a reason. We know he's in a better place," said his childhood buddy, Karl Barron.
Now, as she grieves, Taryn finds some comfort knowing "her perfect guy," is now in "Heaven."
"He's just up there looking after everyone. He must have been called to do something better because Brandon never turns down a call," a teary-eyed Taryn says with a big smile.
Russell graduated from St. Pius X High School in 2000. He was also a member of the school's wrestling, cross country and track teams.