By Jordan Corona
Baylor student Daniel Jones never finished Bearathon last year; he collapsed before the finish line. But his Kappa Omega Tau fraternity brothers are running on Saturday to honor his memory at this year’s annual race.
When Jones rolled out of bed to get ready for Student Foundation’s Bearathon last year, he told his roommate, Abilene senior Landon Wilson, that his goal for the big race was to keep running and never stop.
“I’m not sure he ever did stop,” Wilson said.
A few hours later, Jones collapsed as he was nearing the finish line. He was transported to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center and died soon afterwards. According to autopsy reports released in July, Jones died of natural causes.
Dallas sophomore Michael Miller plans to run with the group this weekend.
“I remember the day he died,” Miller said. “Everyone got together at one of Daniel’s pledge brothers’ house and just mourned.”
The guys in Jones’ fraternity had been talking about running in his honor since the semester of his passing. Dallas senior Richard Astley and Dallas junior Matt Galvin sat down to plan a training schedule for the group in November.
“Most of these guys didn’t even have a running background,” Galvin said. “For them to commit to this is a way to say to Daniel’s family, ‘We’ve got your back.’”
For Jones’ former roommate, training began this past semester.
“I’ve never really done anything like this,” Wilson said. “But I’ve been trying to take one long run every week, and I’m up to nine miles as of last month.”
Wilson said he began training for the run this past semester when he registered for a running class.
This weekend, members of KOT who are running the Bearathon will wear an intramurals T-shirt to signify their participation with the memorial. Galvin said other members of the fraternity will line the streets around the second track mile where spectators are to refrain from cheering as part of a silent mile honoring the life of Daniel Jones.
Miller said Jones loved to tell his story and had a notably positive outlook.
“It’s important because Daniel was a good guy and by running, we are experiencing something he did, something he thought was worth the effort,” Miller said.