Man runs Boston Marathon for late friend

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Thousands of people will took to the streets of Boston Monday to run the historic Boston Marathon, but the race missed a West Michigan man who was killed late last year.

Jim Kelley of Cascade Township ran the Boston Marathon multiple times. He was at the race on April 15, 2013 when two bombs went off near the finish line, though he was not among those injured. He qualified to run the marathon again this year and set a goal to finish it in three hours.

But on Nov. 4, 2013, Kelley was running when he was hit by a car and killed.

People run behind the hearse carrying Jim Kelley's body to honor him. (Nov. 9, 2013 - Courtesy photo)
(People run behind the hearse carrying Jim Kelley’s body to honor him. Nov. 9, 2013 – Courtesy photo)

At age 51, he left behind a wife, two children and a grandson.

Kelley’s friend and frequent running companion Lewis Hayden was expected to run in Monday’s race, and he planned to do it wearing Kelley’s marathon bib.

“He gave so much to the area. It would mean a lot to me to honor him and bring his bib across the line for his family,” Hayden said. “It’s difficult to think about anything with Jim and running, so as this weekend draws close, it’s tough. It’s going to be real tough, but it will mean a lot.”

Hayden said he was sure Kelley will be with him for every single step of the 26.2-mile marathon.

“I’m sure it will be a driving force. He’ll pick me up when it’s tough. I need him at mile 16 through 22,” Hayden said. “That is where it will count the most, and I’m sure he will be there.”

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