‘Shaken, shocked, and heartbroken:’ Father of 3 struck by lightning, killed during 50K race in Kansas

Thomas Stanley

Thomas Stanley

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. — A father of three died after being struck by lightning during a 50K race in Kansas Saturday, Sept. 28.

Thomas Stanley was approaching the finish line at Elk City State Park during the 31.06-mile race when he was struck Saturday afternoon, according to FlatRock 50K & 25K .

Race director Carolyn Robinson said officials got word of the storm moving in moments before Stanley was struck. She went on to say that many runners and officials tried to perform CPR and first aid, but they were unsuccessful.

The organization quoted a statement from the family that said “the chances of being killed by a lightning strike are about one in a million, and Thomas was truly a one-in-a-million guy.”

Stanley’s wife, Ashley, took to Facebook to share the news of her husband’s death.

“It is with deepest regrets and disbelief that I am writing to say that my best friend, father of our babies, and love went to be with Jesus yesterday,” Ashley wrote.

Ashley said she had 15 years with her husband, but she was planning on having 79.

“I want so badly for him to hold me now and to feel his face on mine. He was the most amazing man — and I’m not just saying that,” wrote Ashley.

Stanley worked at the Kansas Leadership Center since 2008 and co-workers said they were shocked by his sudden passing.

“Thomas was full of love and full of passion,” said Sam Smith, co-worker. “I think everyone just feels shaken, and shocked, and heartbroken.”

FlatRock 50K & 25K displayed the father of three’s run in their public photo album at the request of the family, and considered him a finisher of the race even though he didn’t cross the finish line. They presented his finisher’s award to his wife, according to Robinson.

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