Tributes to ‘kind’ runner Michael

Michael Wakefield, aged 69, of Barnsley, a member of Doncaster Athletics Club, who collapsed and died during Doncasters Park Run, at Sandall Park, on Saturday September 24.
Michael Wakefield, aged 69, of Barnsley, a member of Doncaster Athletics Club, who collapsed and died during Doncasters Park Run, at Sandall Park, on Saturday September 24.
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A Doncaster running club are hoping to raise funds for defibrillators after a member suddenly collapsed and died at the weekend.

Michael Wakefield, aged 69, a member of Doncaster Athletics Club, collapsed during Doncaster’s Park Run, at Sandall Park, on Saturday September 24.

Now, Doncaster Athletics Club are hoping to raise money to buy potentially lifesaving defibrillators.

Doncaster Althetics Club member Kev Lincoln said: “The ambulance got there very quickly, but who knows if things could have been different. We want to make sure there’s trained individuals and equipment on the site of our runs so we don’t have to wait for an ambulance.”

A statement posted shortly after the tragic incident on the Doncaster Park Run Facebook page said: “It is with deep sadness that we have to report that local runner Michael Wakefield, collapsed at Doncaster park run this morning.

“Attempts were made to resuscitate Michael by fellow runners until an ambulance arrived and further attempts were made by the ambulance crew and at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

“Unfortunately, despite all efforts to resuscitate Michael, he passed away at 11:11am. I am sure that I speak for everyone associated with our event that our thoughts are with Michael’s family at this very sad time.”

The post has almost 500 comments and has been shared over 250 times. A similar post on the Facebook page of Doncaster Athletics Club also received over 70 comments, with people sharing their sadness and shock, but also their happy memories.

Kev said this showed how well-liked Michael was.

“He had been with the club for several years and was a very popular man. He never lost his passion for running and was always very friendly and supportive to new members. If he had to choose how to go away he would have wanted it to be like this. Even though he lived in Barnsley he travelled two or three times a week to run with us, his commitment was amazing.

“He was a member of the Pacers group - the idea behind that is to get people from an armchair to 5k in eight weeks. He would support the new members of the group and take them out on their first training sessions. He was a well respected man.”

Janet Kerry, who helped to create the Pacer group, remembered Michael as ‘our chatty, educated, eccentric, kind, never would hurt a fly pal.”

Martin James, who also helped to create the Pacer group, added: “He was always smiling and enjoying himself when running or socialising with us.”

There will be a minute’s silence at this Saturday’s Park Run, which will be held on October 1 at Sandall Park at 9am, in memory of Michael.

A Yorkshire Ambulance Trust spokesman said a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance was sent to the scene.