In the end, it was an injury, not a lack of spirit, that forced Kyle Heffner to the curb.
Heffner, a runner with Kilgore ties, competed in the 2018 Chicago Marathon on Sunday. Heffner is ranked third in the world in time between his first sub-three-hour marathon (in 1972) and his last (2012). A finish in under three hours in Chicago would have made him number one.
But Heffner had a muscle cramp, his brother John said, and had to seek medical attention. “He was actually slightly under race pace for 18 miles until the cramp just shut him down,” said John Heffner, a teacher and former track coach here in Kilgore.
He said his younger brother was in good spirits, though, and plans to try again in Houston on Jan.20.