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7th Nov, 2020, Alastair Aitken

The thoughts of everyone at Highgate Harriers are with the family, friends and club mates of Chris Smith of Thames Valley Harriers who has tragically died aged 43 whilst out running in the Perthshire hills.

Alastair Aitken pays tribute - 

Scotsman, Chris Smith (43), a long time member of local club Thames Valley Harriers, who represented GB in international mountain running, was tragically found dead on Thursday 29 October, having gone out for a run in the Perthshire hills on Tuesday 27th. A multiple London Cross Country Champion at Parliament Hill, and Middlesex Cross Country Champion in 2013, Chris was a really kind and charming man who was very popular in the North West London area. I remember how he told me at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships course at Loughborough in 2018 how pleased and amazed he was to be in the winning senior team for Middlesex. 

Chris (born 3/3/77) was originally from Aberdeen, before moving down to London and working in the Civil service. A very likeable, cheerful character, with a good sense of humour and a charming disposition, Chris joined Thames Valley Harriers and ran for them consistently from 2011. He was also a member of the BMC from 2003 to 2008 and often trained with Frank Horwill’s group, as well as receiving good advice from Phil O'Dell. Eventually using his own experience he blossomed as a cross-country and mountain runner.

In the early days whilst working in the city he ran 1:57.00/3:54.9 800/1500 and went on to compete in the British League for TVH. His best times 5000/10,000/3000 steeplechase-14:45.90/30:47.21/9:25.37 and he ran a marathon in 2010 in 2:29.56  After winning a Metropolitan League race out of 277 seniors, at Perivale, on the 12th of February 2011 he said to me “This year after the threat of redundancy in the Civil Service passed, the training I have done at lunch times with the Frank Horwill group has been beneficial”

He loved his cross-country races and won the London Championships 4 times over Hampstead Heath and was placed several times and, even last year was 2nd, and he also won the Middlesex senior in 2013. He led all the way in that, until the final sprint, while in the Middlesex of 2018 where he finished 2nd he said afterwards “ I am looking forward to the National at Parliament Hill and running the Ben Nevis and Snowden Mountain races” So you can see where his biggest interests were from that comment alone.

He has finished 2nd in the British Mountain Running Championships and was a European team medalist in that discipline when running for GB. He was very pleased and counted one of his best achievements ever as when he was in the winning Middlesex team in the muddy, CAU Inter-Counties cross country at Loughborough in 2018 “ I had to wait till I was 40 for that” he said ruefully.       

He will be sadly missed by his family and everyone who knew him.