Family pays tribute to Team GB fell runner who lost his life in the Perthshire hills

The family of Chris Smith has paid tribute to the fell runner who died in the Perthshire hills last week.

Chris and his wife Lindsay on their wedding day.
Chris and his wife Lindsay on their wedding day.

His wife, Lindsay Smith, and their two sons, Alistair and Cameron climbed Bennachie yesterday, a hill range in Aberdeenshire near Chris’ childhood home where he grew up running.

They lay flowers at the summit to pay tribute to the much-loved father and husband.

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Chris, who was 43, went out fell running in the Glenlyon area on Tuesday, October 27 and was expected back at around 5pm. After failing to return, a search and rescue

Chris Smith with his teammates from team GB.

operation got underway in the early hours of Wednesday to try to trace him.

On Thursday last week a body was found in the area and police confirmed yesterday, November 3, that it was Chris Smith.

Chris grew up in Daviot, Inverurie, but moved to Surrey where he lived with his wife and two boys.

He represented Great Britain in international mountain running competitions and in 2016 helped Team GB win bronze in the European Mountain Running Championships in Italy.

Chris Smith

The family had been visiting Chris’ sister, Marianne, in Glasgow, before heading up to Perth for a few days. It was during this trip that Chris went running and did not make it home.

Ruth McKee, Chris’ cousin said: "Chris was all of the amazing things people have spoken about. He was so successful but stayed so modest.

"He was so popular and loved by so many, but always put his family first.

"He would be the first to tell people that the greatest achievements in his life were not his medals or representing his country in athletics but his fantastic sons Cameron and Alistair and marrying his incredible wife Lindsay.

Chris Smith taking part in a hill race.

"There is so much of why we are all so devastated that cannot be fully summed up. I will never be able to tell people about the hundreds of tiny, beautiful, subtle moments that made Chris such an amazing man.

"But if people could imagine the warmest, nicest, funniest, cleverest and talented man, then multiply that by ten, then you could come close to picturing the Chris we all knew and loved."

The family do not yet know when the funeral will be held but said it will be streamed from his church in Haywards Heath, Surrey, so anyone who wishes to watch the service will be able to do so online.

Seamus McKee, Chris' Uncle, 72, from Belfast told the Belfast Telegraph: "I was in awe of his enormous talent as an athlete. He was so modest about his achievements. “He was always more interested in others.

"He had a ready smile and was quick to laughter. Chris had a lot of great qualities.

"He had a very quiet confidence. He knew what the important things in life were. That's something I always took from conversations with him - namely, family - Lindsay and the two boys, his brothers and his sister and his mum and dad.

"Chris was enormously patient with his two sons. He was so gentle and so humorous. He had a fatherly, very loving touch with his boys and the younger generation.

"It's so unfair. It should not be. Gone so soon with so much potential.

"I'm privileged to have had Chris as a nephew."

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