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Royals tribute to runner Ged

Published: 6 Apr 2012 12:001 comment

A SCHOOLBOY whose father died after crossing the finish line at the Reading Half Marathon will be returning to the Madejski Stadium today.

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Jake Clarke has been invited to watch the promotion chasing Royals take on Leeds United in the Championship and will also get to meet club manager Brian McDermott and some of the players.

His 39-year-old father, Ged, collapsed after completing the 13.1 mile race in the stadium on Sunday, and Janine Lewis, a close friend of Mr Clarke, said: "This is something that will be very special for Ged's family and that was what Ged was all about."

Royals chairman Sir John Madejski, 70, who completed the course himself in 2hrs 29mins, this week sent his condolences to Mr Clarke's family and said: "It's desperately sad and it has put a blot on this year's Reading Half Marathon, which is such a shame as the majority of us enjoyed what was such a great atmosphere."

The popular runner lived in Calcot with his family, who released a statement this week which read: "Ged was a wonderful husband to Estelle and father to their two children, Jake and Jessica.

"He will be missed terribly by all his family and friends.

"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."

Scores of messages have been posted on the Chronicle website in memory of Mr Clarke, who was a senior engineer at Foster Wheeler Energy at Shinfield and was a member of the company's running club.

Jennifer Stacey, the company's director of human resources, said: "Recently, he approached Foster Wheeler for support in holding a fundraising event at our offices here at Shinfield Park for Sport Relief 2012 when he and his colleagues raised £620 over an extended lunch break.

"This event was followed a week later when Ged and his colleagues competed at the Green Park Triathlon 2012 in Reading and, together with all the other teams competing at the event, raised over £35,000 for Sport Relief 2012.

"We are all devastated at the sudden loss."

Mr Clarke also ran the @12pmclub Twitter account, which he used to motivate people to get active every lunchtime, and this week an @RIP12pmclub account has been set up for tributes and updates.

Runners who do the 5k Reading Park Run at Thames Valley Park at 9am every Saturday, will celebrate Mr Clarke's life this week with a round of applause before they set off.

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