7 March 2012

The Bitter with the Sweet

posted by Angela Parker

Every year, a number of UALR faculty, staff, and students participate in the Little Rock Marathon. There is much to celebrate this year, and much to mourn. For the fourth year, alum Leah Thorvilson won the women’s division. Assistant Marketing Professor Karen Hood sang the national anthem and alum Gina Marchese Pharis was the Executive Race Director.

For the uninitiated, the full marathon is 26.2 miles and the half is 13.1 miles. There was also a 10K race (6.2 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles).

Just to give some perspective, the full marathon would be like running from campus to the Little Rock Air Force Base. ArkansasOnline did a fun video that shows the route in high speed.

If participants did all the training runs, full marathoners ran 567 miles by the time the marathon was over. Half marathoners ran 355 miles.

photo from arkansasonline.com

Congratulations to the following folks on overcoming wind and warm weather to complete a great race!

Full Marathon:
Valerie Brown (TRIO Program Director)
Cindy Gilbert (Associate Professor, Nursing)
Angela Parker (Communications – Media Relations)
Brian Watson (Records and Registration Associate)

Half Marathon:
Dr. Edward Anson (History Professor)
Kelley Bass (EIT Assistant Dean)
Amy Burgess (Head Swimming Coach)
Elizabeth Sloan Davidson (Assistant Professor Nursing)
Dent Gitchell (Bowen School of Law Professor Emeritus)
Karen Hood (Marketing and Advertising Assistant Professor)
Ashley McCafferty (Academic Success Center Advisor
Brad Patterson (Director of Testing Services)
Abbey Ray (Senior in the BSW program)
Ann Schlumberger (Nursing Department Chair)
Eileen Turan (Donaghey Scholars Program Administrator)
Whitney West (Business Consultant, ASBTDC)
Stephen Yanoviak (Biology Assistant Professor)

10K:
Alton Pouncey (Project/Program Manager, Computing Services)

5K:
Elizabeth Vaughn-Neely (Educational Leadership Chair)

There are two UALR runners who are not included in that list, though- Mike Kelly and his wife Ebony. As you have probably heard, they were both running the half marathon when Mike collapsed at the 11th mile and could not be revived.

Mike was a network technician in Information Technology Services. He was 37 years old. He joined UALR as a lab assistant in the student library lab while working on his bachelor’s degree. He was hired full-time in the Desktop Support Group in 2007 and was promoted to his current position in 2009. He was also working on his master’s degree in information quality.

“Mike was a conscientious, dedicated person who did a great job at whatever task he was assigned,” said Dr. Jeannie Winston, vice chancellor for information services. “He was a valuable member of our UALR family and will be missed.”

Mike won’t just be missed for the work he did though. His friends and co-workers say Mike was a good person – kind, thoughtful and cheerful. He had trained to run in the half marathon to get in shape and was down about 40 pounds.

Most importantly, they talk about how much he loved his wife Ebony, who is an administrative assistant in the Department of Information Science. They had been married a little over a year, and would often spend part of their lunch hour walking around campus.

Our hearts go out to Ebony, their family, and Mike’s friends and co-workers.

2 Responses to “The Bitter with the Sweet”

  1. D L Shelton says:

    What a fitting title, Bitter with the Sweet. Congratulations to all the runners and most of all I wish peace and blessings to Mike’s family

  2. There is a void in our department that is overwhelmingly sad. We miss Mike. He played a huge role in our everyday operations. Ebony you are in our prayers.

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