ONE of the Lake District’s best known athletes has passed away after testing positive for coronavirus. 

Runner Pete Bland, who set up the popular Kendal running store Pete Bland Sports, passed away on Saturday his devastated family have announced.

After testing positive for Covid-19 on November 7, Mr Bland was admitted to hospital on November 28.

The Westmorland Gazette:

A spokesman for Pete Bland Sports said: "He fought so hard but the virus showed him no mercy and he passed on November 28."

Mr Bland was the organiser of the iconic Rydal Round fell race.

Known throughout the Lakes and beyond as a specialist retailer of running equipment, the Pete Bland Sports trade van is a familiar sight at races – and the shop in Kendal is a mecca for all who love the fells.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Paying tribute, the spokesman said: "Pete devoted most of his life to two things, family and running.

"A long running career in the lakeland fells, with the odd spell on the roads led him to open Pete Bland Sports 39 years ago.

"Once the legs grew tired, Pete turned his attention to helping other runners.

"Ten years as England fell & mountain running team manager, 40 years organising the Kentmere Horseshoe (as well as other races) and a long stint on the FRA committee just some of his notable contributions.

"This is a devastating loss for the family, but we take comfort from the fact his legacy will live on at Pete Bland Sports."

Since Mr Bland retired, the business has been run by his son Matthew, but he was often to be found at races and was honoured as a life member of the team at Ambleside Sports.

Mr Bland started running as a pupil at the former Windermere Grammar School, where he regularly won cross country events.

He leaves behind wife Anne, children Louise and Matt, son and daughter-in-law Glen and Tracey and grandchildren Robbie, Holly and Billy. He also leaves behind a host of friends forged in the running community.