Dozens of runners are dedicating their race to the memory of a man who died at last year's Dallas Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon.
Mark Austry died just after crossing the finish line with his brother, Michael. An autopsy revealed that he died of myocarditis, a poorly understood disease marked by inflammation and scarring of the heart muscle.
"I wanted the memory that I have for that race to be the last, with him," he said. "If I do it again, the finish line -- it wouldn't go well for me."
According to the Myocarditis Foundation, the disease is the third most common cause of sudden unexpected death in otherwise young, healthy individuals, including athletes. The majority of cases present no symptoms and are difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose.
"When this happened, I went and met with a cardiologist, and he really shrugged his shoulders and said, 'Sorry, we really don't know anything about it,'" Austry said. "We don't know why he got it or how to prevent it."
Michael Austry is also honoring his brother in another way. He and his wife gave birth to their first child in July. They named her Devon Mark, after her uncle.
"She'll have to explain why it's a male name, but I think she'll be proud to be linked to her uncle," he said.Earlier this week, Mark Austry's family returned to the finish line in Fair Park for the first time since his death. While the family said it's too hard to go back on race day, they will be volunteering at the expo throughout the weekend.