Berkshire

Reading half marathon runner dies after collapsing at finishing line

Ged Clarke, 39, from Calcot, Reading
Image caption Ged Clarke from Reading was 39 and a keen athlete

A man has died after collapsing at the finishing line of the Reading half marathon on Sunday.

The runner, Ged Clarke, 39, from Reading, was taken to hospital after crossing the line at the Madejski Stadium but could not be resuscitated.

His wife Estelle said he was a "wonderful" husband and father to their two children, and that he would be "missed terribly".

More than 16,000 people ran the 13.1-mile (21km) course through the town.

Mr Clarke, from the Calcot suburb, had completed the course in two hours 30 minutes.

He was a keen athlete who ran a popular Twitter campaign under the moniker @12pmclub, encouraging people to exercise at lunch times.

'Healthy lifestyle'

Mrs Clarke said: "He will be remembered for his happy and thoughtful character, and his great belief in doing things to the best of his ability, something his family will continue in believing for him."

A spokeswoman for the Reading half marathon organisers said his death was "deeply upsetting and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this distressing time".

Janine Lewis, from Reading, is a friend of the family who ran part of the course with Mr Clarke, and said his family were "devastated".

"He was a champion for a fit, healthy lifestyle," she said. "Not just of the body, but of heart and soul too.

"The irony, and tragedy, is that he died as he finished the Reading half marathon."

She added: "He inspired a lot of people. He contributed personally to their charities, and also motivated them forward with their challenges."

Half marathon marshall Paul Hunsden said it was "a terribly sad event".

"The gentleman completed the race, but sadly as he crossed the line and went into the slow-down area there was clearly something seriously wrong."

He added that he had collapsed about "25 to 30 yards" (23 to 27m) past the line.

Emergency workers tried to revive Mr Clarke with a defibrillator after he collapsed and he was taken to hospital but could not be resuscitated.

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