WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A running jersey has been designed to honor the life of Thomas Stanley, a runner who died after he was struck by lightning while running an ultra marathon.
Aside from being a husband and father, Thomas’s passion was running.
“Strong, kind, father,” said Joey Nowlin, CEO of Agent Ink Apparel.
Words like those cover the running jersey Nowlin designed with the help of Thomas’s best friend.
“[His friend] reached out to me and told me he had some shirt designs in memory of Thomas,” said Nowlin. “It’s really humbling honestly to read that and see how amazing of a person he really was and what a big impact he’s made on the community.”
In less than 72 hours, Nowlin designed the jersey.
“I was reading through Thomas’s obituary and all the Facebook posts and there were just so many positive remarks,” said Nowlin. “Obviously, Thomas was a very beloved community member, so I just started grabbing different words, adjectives, nouns that people used to describe him.”
The jersey is indigo blue, Thomas’s favorite color and will now be worn as his loved ones and others continue running for him.
“I love the idea of keeping his memory alive,” said Ashley Stanley, Thomas’s wife. “It helps me to still feel closer to him. It’ll just be awesome to see those every now and then and pop up on people as they go about doing their lives and running. It’ll be a nice reminder when I see that.”
The jersey is something Ashley said Thomas would have loved.
“I think he’d be blown away and absolutely humbled,” Ashley said. “I think he’d probably just say, ‘Are you kidding me? All this for me?”
What started as just an idea has turned into a deign that will forever be a keepsake.
Although Nowlin didn’t know Thomas personally, he said designing this in honor of the runner is something he will cherish forever.
“Versus a normal jersey, this means a lot more,” said Nowlin.
As the community continues to give back to the family of a man who gave so much, Ashley said she’s grateful.
“Thank you for thinking of us and for being the hands and feet of Jesus to my family,” said Ashley. “It hasn’t gone unnoticed by me.”
Participants in the Prairie Fire Marathon will be able to wear their jerseys while they run. Some proceeds from the marathon registration will go to the Stanley family.
A cheer section sponsored by Reverie Coffee will also be set up at the marathon to show support for the Stanley family.
All the proceeds from the jerseys will go the Stanley’s Children’s Fund founded by the Kansas Leadership Center.
To buy a running jersey or to donate to the Stanley Children’s Fund, click here.
A marathon named in honor of Thomas Stanley is also in the works and is expected to happen this fall.