Filling a father’s shoes: Son runs 25K in honor of late dad

Jake Kinzler in his late father Jason Kinzler's shoes for the 25K River Bank Run on Saturday, May 13, 2017.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Among the thousands who ran Saturday morning, two siblings had a purpose that has touched every single person who has heard their story.

The Kinzler kids, Jake and Hannah, finished the 25K River Bank Run for their late father, Jason.

Jason Kinzler
An undated courtesy photo of Jason Kinzler and his children.

A 25K finished in a sprint — then an emotional embrace.

“It just felt like my dad was right there by me the whole time. I just felt amazing because I finally did it for him,” Jake Kinzler said.

Jake and Hannah Kinzler have spent months training to make their dad proud — finishing the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K — the race Jason died during six years ago.

>>Finish line results for the Fifth Third River Bank Run

Not only did they finish in his memory — Jake Kinzler crossed the finish line in his dad’s shoes.

The Kinzler family after Jake and Hannah finished the 25K River Bank Run on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

“As much as I wanted to finish for my dad, there’s nothing more he would’ve wanted than to help others and this is also doing that,” Jake Kinzler said.

The Kinzlers hoped participating in Saturday’s 25K would raise $25,000 for their Jason Kinzler Family First Foundation — more than $80,000 was raised at their annual banquet in April — all to help West Michigan families.

“For him to put his dad’s shoes on and finish that race for him was so amazing but the purpose behind all that was to be able to help so many other families who have experienced exactly what we have experienced,” Kristi Kinzler said. “For them to be able to actually finish the race that he passed away in I don’t even know how to put that into words.”

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Online:

Jason Kinzler Family First Foundation