Marathon runner’s funeral set for Wednesday

jmonk@thestate.comNovember 11, 2013 

Funeral services for a Columbia runner who died as he finished a marathon over the weekend in Savannah will be held Wednesday.

Robert Jacob “Jake” Zeman, 35, died from “an unsuspected heart condition,” according to an obituary Tuesday in The State newspaper.

A graduate of Dreher High School and the College of Charleston, Zeman was an artist and worked for the University of South Carolina as an information resource consultant in the university’s Facilities Planning and Programming Office.

Zeman, who was well known in the running community, lived with his wife, Erin, and 2-year-old son Jack in the Old Woodlands neighborhood of Columbia.

Zeman collapsed as he neared the finish line during Saturday’s marathon. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Although Georgia authorities originally had planned to release his body Tuesday or Wednesday because of the Veterans Day three-day holiday, intervention by S.C. public officials and citizens persuaded the state’s medical examiner to do an autopsy Sunday and send his remains back to South Carolina.

A friend of the family and fellow runner, Will Britt of Columbia, who was in Savannah with Zeman, said Georgians on the scene in Savannah were shaken and did everything they could to help.

“Having been present during this horrible ordeal, I can say without hesitation that the people of Georgia, the staff of Savannah Memorial, its physicians and nurses, and the representatives of the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, showed incredible kindness and compassion. It was obvious that the loss was felt by all of these people, as the grief for a young man they did not know was reflected in their faces. One could not have asked for a more loving and caring environment for the family,” Britt said.

Wednesday’s funeral service is set for 3 p.m. at Shandon United Methodist Church.

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