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Runners fought to save life of collapsed athlete
A KENDAL fell runner has described how he and fellow competitors battled in vain to save the life of a popular athlete after he collapsed on a mountain ridge.
Darren Holloway, 42, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, was competing in the Ian Hodgson mountain relay on Sunday when he dropped to the ground.
Other runners and hill walkers quickly went to Mr Holloway’s aid on the ridge between Hart Crag and Fairfield, and tried to revive him.
Gary Beardswood, a member of the Helm Hill running club team competing in the race, helped give him CPR.
“I was running along from Hart Crag and approaching the next summit when I saw a guy running in the opposite direction which I thought was strange,” he said.
“When I got to the top there was a group of people around the man doing mouth to mouth. I just thought I’d better go up and see what was happening.
“I asked what I could do to help and did chest compressions while another man breathed into him.
“There were plenty of people there doing as much as they possibly could. I was just one of many people who were trying to help. It all happened so quickly, it was quite hectic.
“It really brings it home to you because I’m 41 and this man who was 42 was a good runner. It knocks you back a bit.”
A Lancashire Constabulary helicopter was flown in to provide assistance, with the crew collecting a defibrillator and member of the Ambleside mountain rescue team from its base.
Mr Holloway was taken by air ambulance to Furness General Hospital but despite efforts by doctors to resuscitate him, he died.
A spokesman for Cumbria police said: “His family has been informed and there are no suspicious circumstances to his death. The case has been passed to the coroner.”
Nick Owen, Langdale Ambleside mountain rescue team leader, said: “I believe some of the runners who stopped to help were quite experienced medics, including a couple of doctors.
“There was also a member of another mountain rescue team.
“The CPR administered was to a high standard, it is just unfortunate that it is one of those cases when nothing anybody could have done would have made a difference.
“This isn’t the sort of race anybody would just enter. I believe he was a fit, competent and experienced runner. It was completely out of the blue. ”
Race organiser Jon Broxap also paid tribute to those who helped Mr Holloway.
He said: “It is very tragic. He received exemplary care, including from a doctor who was running behind him, and was airlifted to hospital very quickly. I don’t think mountain rescue even had time to get out to him before he was on his way to hospital.”
Mr Holloway’s death is one of just six fell running fatalities in the last 50 years, and is believed to have been caused by an underlying heart condition.
Tributes have flooded into the running forum fellrunner.org.uk, on which Mr Holloway was an active member.
One friend said: “Darren was one of the most wonderful, kind, generous, warm-hearted people I've ever had the fortune to meet.
“He had just as much time, if not more, for the back markers as he did for the front runners. He was a shining example of what could be achieved by training hard and he lived his whole life with an enormous passion for everything he did. He showed me friendship, support and inspiration.”
A statement published on the website on Monday said: “All fell runners will be saddened to hear that Darren died yesterday whilst competing in Leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson Relay.
“He received prompt CPR assistance, including from runners who selflessly stopped to help him, until the air ambulance arrived.
“Our thoughts are for his wife Amanda, his family and all those who knew him.”
Writing on his own running blog a week before his death, Mr Holloway recounted his experiences in a recent Scafell Pike race.
He said: “We are so fortunate to have this wonderful sport.
“Only 99 runners today but I did not see one unhappy person and as I drive away I wonder where next. Where will this sport take me?
“After hundreds of fell races the sport still has that magnetic pull that it had the first day that I wore a set of fell shoes.”