Midtown Raleigh News

Derrick Myers, who died in Raleigh road race, recalled as smart, hard worker

Runners head down Salisbury Street during the Raleigh Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & Half Marathon Sunday April 13, 2014.
Runners head down Salisbury Street during the Raleigh Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & Half Marathon Sunday April 13, 2014. tlong@newsobserver.com

A Raleigh IT specialist who was running to raise money and awareness for medical research was one of two people who collapsed and died during a road race on Sunday.

Derrick Lee Myers, 35, was director of IT for Etix, a Web-based ticketing and marketing platform for entertainment venues. He had worked for the company about two years.

Travis Janovich, founder and chairman of the board of Etix, said everybody in the company knew Myers and enjoyed being around him.

“He was incredibly smart and incredibly driven,” Janovich said. “He worked very hard. He was just one of those people who literally always made everyone around him happier.”

Much of the work Etix does requires its employees to go where the company’s clients are, Janovich said, and he encourages them to take photos while they’re in the field. When Myers went out on a job, “Everybody always had pictures of him. He was always having a good time, making people smile, goofing around.”

Myers collapsed near the finish line in the half-marathon at Sunday’s Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. Another man, age 31, collapsed and died between miles 10 and 11 of the half-marathon.

No ID of other runner

Race officials did not release the names of either fallen runner, and Wake County EMS, which transported the runners to local hospitals where they were pronounced dead, said it could not release any patient information. The state medical examiner’s office does not release names in cases in which it conducts autopsies. Raleigh police were not called to investigate the deaths and did not have reports on the incidents.

Though race officials have not said what caused the runners to collapse, Dr. Jeff Bytomski, head medical team physician at Duke University, said he had been told by doctors at the event that they thought both men suffered cardiac events.

Janovich said the race was Myers’ second Rock ’n’ Roll event; he ran in the Savannah race in November. Both times, he was running to raise money and awareness for Team FARA, the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance. Friedreich’s Ataxia is a genetic degenerative neuromuscular disorder that shortens its victims’ lives.

‘Incredibly good person’

Myers ran in Rock ’n’ Roll Savannah with some of his coworkers, Janovich said, and decided to use the event in Raleigh for the same purpose.

“He just jumped full in for every cause,” Janovich said. “He was just an incredibly good person.”

In his obituary, Myers’ family said he “loved life and lived it to the fullest every day.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Myers graduated from Oklahoma State University. He worked as an information systems administrator for Kelhim Carolina Systems Technology. He later became director of IT for East Carolina Neurology in Greenville, and was a health information technology instructor at Pitt Community College there. He went to work for Etix in 2012.

Myers was the father of two children, Kylee Jo Myers and Nathanael Lee Myers of Bath. He is also survived by his parents, Michael and Barbara Myers of Tarboro; sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Brandon Williams of Whitakers; niece, Lailie Williams; nephew, Jayden Williams; and paternal grandmother, Helen Myers of Ponca City, Okla.

In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be made in his honor to a college fund for his children through PNC Bank, 608 N. Main St., Tarboro, NC 27886.

The family will receive friends at Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 S. Winstead Ave., Rocky Mount, from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday. The funeral will be at the church at 11 a.m. Thursday. Burial will follow in Edgecombe Memorial Park, Tarboro. Arrangements by Carlisle Funeral Home in Tarboro.