The devastated family and friends of an ‘inspirational’ grandfather who collapsed and died while fell running said he died doing what he loved.
Blind runner Mike Ogle, 62, from Clayton Green, near Leyland, was a member of the Chorley Harriers running club.
He was taking part in the two mile Burnsall Classic Fell Race in Yorkshire when he collapsed. It is thought he suffered a heart attack.
The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association were called and Yorkshire Air Ambulance airlifted the former University of Central Lancashire lecturer off the hills at around 5pm on Saturday.
He was taken to an ambulance, but he could not be saved.
His youngest daughter Katie, 31, said he was a ‘loving family man’ and paid special tribute to his friends and members of Chorley Harriers, who have helped the family through “these horrendous and unthinkable days.”
“His family was the centre of his world,” she added. “We don’t want him to be talked about as a blind man. He was a normal man who just happened not to be able to see. We don’t feel he was defined by that.
“He could not have done any of his running without the incredible support Chorley Harriers have shown over the years. He loved it there.
“Everyone would always see dad running up and down the A6 and if they hadn’t seen him for a while, they would ask us if he was okay.”
Chorley Harriers officials have had more than 40 emails and tributes from other fell runners and clubs following the news.
Harriers spokesman Dan Edwards said: “Mike was an inspiration to many, never letting his disability affect his running.
“He was regularly led around road, fell and cross country courses by his running colleagues and friends.It is some comfort that Mike died, aged 62, doing what he loved. He was a good man. On number of occasions when he would turn up for training he would be getting changed and a couple of jokers would decide to move some of his gear and he took all that in good spirit.”
Mr Ogle, who retired from working as a senior lecturer in law at the University of Central Lancashire last year and has also taught at St Michael’s High School, Chorley, lost the majority of his sight more than 15 years ago.
Mr Ogle told in an interview in 2006 that the death of his father from a heart condition aged 51 had inspired him to keep fit, despite his sight. He joined the Harriers around 25 years ago.
Former Harriers chairman and friend of Mr Ogle’s Martin Harrington said: “I don’t know how to convey what an inspiration he was. He was not just known at Chorley Harriers but the whole running fraternity.
“He has inspired so many people. Everyone in the club who has run with him will have tales to tell.”
Among the races Mr Ogle has completed is the Medoc Marathon in France in 2006 when he dressed as a prisoner and Mr Harrington as a police officer. He also completed the London Marathon six times.
He had completed a 10-mile road race on Saturday before the fell race. Chorley Harriers will run this week’s Harrock Hill race his memory.