THE tragic deaths of two runners has sadly overshadowed one of Peterborough’s biggest sporting spectacles.
One competitor died after collapsing during the race and a second man died after competing in the Perkins Great Eastern Run, which saw more than 4,000 people take part and thousands more line the city streets to cheer on the runners.
Paramedics treated both men before they were rushed to hospital.
Tributes have been paid to the two runners who were both members of city running clubs.
One of the men was a member of the Bushfield Joggers running club.
Last night a club spokesman said members and their families had gathered after the race to try to come to terms with the news.
He said: “We have all raised a glass to a valued club member who will be sorely missed.”
The second man was a member of Werrington Joggers and had completed the race before falling ill.
Chairman of Werrington Joggers, Tim Cook, said the news had hit the club hard.
He said: “Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
“He was a valued member of the club who had recently returned to running .
“We are just trying to let our members know what has happened.”
The Evening Telegraph has agreed not to reveal the men’s identities until all close family members have been informed.
Paramedics had made desperate bids to save the two men who were both taken to Peterborough District Hospital.
A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service confirmed that both men had died in hospital, the first ever fatalities to befall the race. She said: “One man was taken ill during the race, while the other man had managed to complete the run and had gone to get something to eat.
“Both were given CPR after suffering cardiac arrests and were transported to Peterborough District Hospital. However they were later declared dead.”
High temperatures and the biggest field in the event’s history saw a number of runners taken to hospital with six other people suffering with serious problems ranging from cardiac problems to collapsing from exhaustion.
In total 15 people required medical attention at the race which had its own medical director, Dr Phil Parr and teams of paramedics along with St John’s Ambulance volunteers on stand-by at regular points along the course.
Stuart Hamilton, race director for the Great Eastern Run, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of these tragic deaths.
“On behalf of the entire Perkins Great Eastern Run team, I send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the two runners.
“Since the run was reintroduced in the city in 2006 we have never experienced a fatality, so for the team and myself it has been such a dreadful shock.”
Mayor of Peterborough, councillor Keith Sharp, who had earlier taken part in the 4k fun run said the tragic deaths had sadly overshadowed a fantastic event.
He said: “It is always very sad when somebody dies but it is especially so at an event such as this.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the two runners at this very sad time.”