Mystery over death of marathon runner
TRIBUTES have been paid to a runner who died just a mile before the end of the Wilmslow Half Marathon after collapsing with a mystery condition.
Ben Smith, described as a ‘healthy, active’ 27-yearold, was just minutes from finishing the race when he fell to the ground unresponsive.
Fellow runners and off-duty paramedics were among those to rush to help him. An air ambulance landed in a nearby field and ambulance staff attended, but Ben was pronounced dead on arrival at Wythenshawe Hospital, with medics unable to feel a pulse when they arrived.
The last heartbreaking picture taken of Ben shows him with his girlfriend Jordan Ibsen before the event on March 22.
His devastated family still don’t know what killed their son after a postmortem failed to find anything abnormal.
Dad Gary, 57, and mum Chris, 51, said Ben had recently moved in with teacher partner Jordan, 25, in Chorlton after he landed his dream job as a sales executive.
The pair, they said, were ‘soul mates and best friends’ and were just setting up a life together.
Gary, who lives with wife Chris and Ben’s brothers, Oliver, 25, and Josh, 24, in Sale, said: “What happened to Ben is still unexplained. He was fit and healthy, had no medical conditions and was always playing sport.
“There was a GP running behind him who said he had no pulse. He had played lacrosse his whole life and was always healthy and ate well.
“We’ve had no answers – we’re still waiting for more tests to come back.
“We just don’t understand why or how this happened.
“It was completely out of the blue. We’re devastated and Jordan is heartbroken.”
Ben, a former Altrincham Grammar School for Boys student, studied sport and leisure management at Loughborough University and was an avid cyclist and regular gym-goer. His family say there were no signs of him having a heart condition.
Mum Chris added: “He was doing his dream job – he loved it. He had been given a big promotion and a pay rise, he’d moved in with Jordan. They were just getting on in life together.
“They were a lovely couple and were starting to build a life. It’s so unfair.
“It’s an absolute mystery. We’ve been inundated with cards and messages. He was a hard worker and never said a bad word about anybody.”