OKC Woman Dies Suddenly Following Half Marathon

Friday, April 18th 2014, 11:06 pm
By: News 9

A metro woman collapses and dies at the finish line of a race. It happened just two weeks before her dream wedding.

Kaytie Joiner of Edmond ran a successful half-marathon in Galveston, Texas last weekend, but moments after she crossed the finish line, the 27-year-old collapsed.

"We were planning a wedding, and so, we just had to plan something different, plan a different kind of party," said Kaytie's older sister, Leigha Pemberton.

Kaytie was about to marry her boyfriend of more than five years. She and 14 of her close friends and relatives went down to Galveston for a bachelorette weekend.

"We had the best time. They walked on the beach. We had decorated the house we rented to celebrate her. We all shared memories of Kaytie," said Pemberton.

Leigha says she lived a life of love and was to marry her fiancé, Nick, on May 3, 2014.

"It was really all either one of us was looking forward to," said Kaytie's fiancé, Nick Cooper. "Finally getting to start our lives together and have kids, and build a house together."

Kaytie is seen in cell phone video running next to her friend having a good time during the marathon. There were no signs of what was about to happen at the finish line.

"In my heart, I knew. I knew she was gone. I knew she wasn't going to be getting up," said Pemberton.

Kaytie collapsed and died.

"And her being surrounded by so many people that loved her is just, I wouldn't trade that moment ever, ever in a million years that I got to be there with her," said Pemberton.

"Kaytie was my everything," said Cooper. "I mean, she was my best friend. She was my soul mate."

A picture was taken as she crossed the finish line, for the last time.

"She crossed the finish line and she literally stepped from this world, into Jesus's arms," said Pemberton.

"I couldn't be more content and at peace with that," said Cooper.

Kaytie had a congenital heart defect that could not have been picked up on a regular medical screening. She will be laid to rest Monday.