Runners inspired by 'real gent' Ged ClarkeBy Linda Fort
April 12, 2012
Runners clapped their hands in tribute to the inspirational athlete who died as he finished the Reading Half Marathon.
More than 270 runners taking part in Saturday morning’s Park Run paused before they set off to hear a few words about Ged Clarke then clap for a minute in his memory.
His widow Estelle and children Jake and Jessica were at the event at Thames Valley Park to hear the tribute and to take part in the run. The family was also invited to Madejski Stadium to see the Reading v Leeds match on Friday and manager Brian McDermott met them before the game.
Family friend Janine Lewis – who was a member of the @12pmclub Twitter group founded by Mr Clarke to encourage people to run in their lunch hour said: “Ged was essentially a private family man – a man who enjoyed a healthy lifestyle, and role modelled that as a family man and friend.
“He loved running, swimming, cycling, football and above all he loved to do this, not to just challenge himself physically and mentally, but as a family man.
“He was a man who always had a smile, always there to help – there was a fun side – there was a serious side. He was one of life’s real gents who had a big heart and selflessly gave his time to others.
“He remained a private person on Twitter hiding behind his twitter name @12pmclub.
“He kept his identity, as he was a man of low confidence in what he was trying to achieve in public.
“He shared the same enthusiasm to promote health and fitness as a way of life, with like-minded people who he networked and interacted with on Twitter.
“There were many of us who all sang from the same hymn sheet – a song about fitness, fun, charity, family, encouraging, being positive, inspiring and motivating. He had a couple of extra verses.
“One verse was to encourage you to get away from your desk, have a change of scenery, do something to exercise the body, give the brain a rest. Then you could be more productive in the afternoon for work, plus you also did something to make your body stronger.
“The other verse was to encourage training with your family. There is a time when you need a solo run, swim or bike ride, but at weekends and evenings, get the family involved. If they don’t want to run, perhaps they will cycle alongside. Quality family time.
“We all sang the same chorus out loud.
“Let this not be a swan song.
“Let this not be an anthem.
“Let’s not hum it either!
“It’s a song we should be singing any time, any place, on your own or with others.”
The turnout on Saturday was almost a record and Mrs Lewis said: “It wasn’t that people were paying tribute so much as being inspired to take part by him.”