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Many Miles for Malakai: This Lexington Police Officer is Dedicating his IRONMAN Chattanooga Race to Victims of Gun Violence

by Kennedy Terry

Malakai and Corey holding up a "#MM4M" shirt
James Doane

Corey Doane is an avid triathlete and a police officer in the Special Investigations Unit for the Lexington Police Department. A 17-year veteran on the force, Doane has had a front row seat to senseless gun violence in his community. A night of tragedy has forever connected two families and served as inspiration for Doane’s IRONMAN triathlon journey.

In December 2020, Malakai Roberts was a 5-year-old gearing up for the best Christmas yet, at home in Lexington, Kentucky, with his mom, Cacy, and younger brother, Kameron. Doane was on his evening shift, the night of Dec. 21. The two families were brought together on this tragic night.

Malakai was lying next to his mom and brother when a stray of bullets came pouring through their home. Doane was one of the officers who responded to the scene. Cacy suffered a gunshot wound to her arm, and soon discovered Malakai had been shot in the head. The bullet missed Malakai’s brain by 2 centimeters — but the bullet strike left him permanently blind.

Malakai and his brother, Kameron, smiling
(Photo by James Doane)

Malakai, his mom and brother quickly had to adjust to a new normal. Today, the Roberts family continues to persevere throughout hardships. Doane and his wife, Leigh, have three kids of their own, including a daughter the same age as Malakai. As a father, Doane thought about how it could have been his daughter that tragic night. He knew he had to do something impactful for his community.

Malakai and Corey's daughter smiling
James Doane
Malakai and Corey's daughter

 Two years ago, Doane woke up in the middle of the night and decided to sign up for an IRONMAN. He’d dedicate his journey to Malakai, using the slogan “Many Miles 4 Malakai.” Several family and friends tried to talk him out of this decision, but he knew in his heart he needed to do this. In addition to dedicating his journey, Doane also used this opportunity to raise money for the Roberts family and their immediate needs.

Corey holding a thumbs up while training.
(Photo by James Doane)

Malakai is enrolled in public school with other kids his age and attends the Kentucky School for the Blind quarterly. He has learned how to ride a bicycle and co-authored a book titled The Adventures of Malakai Roberts: Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork. Malakai’s mom admires his positive attitude and says he is still the same, fun-loving kid he has always been. Malakai continues to reach milestones and experience the joys of life like other kids his age.

Doane races his “Many Miles 4 Malakai” race at IRONMAN Chattanooga on Sept. 24. Donate to Malakai’s family today.

Donate to Many Miles 4 Malakai


Malakai, Corey, and the Roberts family are an incredible example of how people in the triathlon community continue to #IgniteTheSpark. If you have a story about how you #IgniteTheSpark in your community, share your story now.