South Scotland

Woman dies during Innerleithen cross country race

Rat Race event
Image caption The Mighty Deerstalker event is run by Rat Race Adventure Sports

A woman has died after falling ill while taking part in a night time cross country race.

Emergency crews were called to the Mighty Deerstalker event in the Scottish Borders after the woman became unwell just before 18:00 on Saturday.

The 48-year-old was taken to Borders General Hospital in Melrose but did not survive.

The 10-mile (16km) event, billed as the UK's biggest night race, was being held at Innerleithen in Tweeddale.

Two thousand people took part in Saturday's event, which began at 17:30.

A spokesman for organisers Rat Race Adventure Sports, said: "We are extremely saddened to confirm that a participant in our Mighty Deerstalker event passed away yesterday.

"The participant became unwell at 17:56, approximately one mile into the event, close to our event control station and at the location of one of our safety marshals.

"A member of our medical team was on the scene within three minutes as we implemented our response protocols.

"They were assisted by an off-duty paramedic until the arrival of the Scottish Ambulance Service."

The spokesman said the company would offer its "full assistance" to the authorities.

Image copyright Andy McCandlish
Image caption The race takes place after dark at Innerleithen in Tweeddale

He added: "Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the deceased."

The event, now in its 11th year, sees hundreds of participants tackle off-road terrain while wearing head torches.

On its website, the organisers state: "The Mighty Deerstalker is as tough as it gets: hills, mud, swamp, darkness, rivers, obstacles and always devilishly vague on the true distance, this event never disappoints but it often hurts."

Race competitors set off in stages before following a waymarked course.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police in the Scottish Borders responded to a report of a woman having taken unwell during a sporting event near to Traquair House, Innerleithen at 18.15 on Saturday 11 March.

"The 48-year-old was treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service and was taken to Borders General Hospital. However, she passed away while en route.

"Inquiries are continuing, however there appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding this death and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal."

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