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Friday 29 August 2014

Man (42) who died after London Marathon was running for "inspirational" mother

Mehreen Khan

Published 14/04/2014 | 19:38

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Runners at the start of the Virgin Money London Marathon, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 13, 2014. See PA Story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
Runners at the start of the Virgin Money London Marathon yesterday

A runner who died at the finishing line of the London Marathon was competing to raise money for his "inspirational" mother, who had been diagnosed with a brittle bone condition.

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Robert Berry, 42, was raising money for the National Osteoporosis Society, when he collapsed and died despite receiving medical help, at St Mary's hospital in London yesterday.

On his JustGiving donations page, Mr Berry said he was undertaking the marathon after his mother, Ann Berry, was diagnosed with the condition aged 52.

Mr Berry, from Reading, Berks, wrote: "I'm running the London Marathon in support of the National Osteoporosis Society for the support given to my mother who was diagnosed with Osteoporosis at the age of 52 but whose current condition (we found out later) was triggered from a lifting incident at the age of 47.

"Because of the stress on her lower back, two sets of bones in her lower spine collapsed."

In a touching message on his own website, he added: "This page is dedicated to my mum, who despite being diagnosed with Osteoporosis at the relatively early age of 52 years, has been an inspiration through the continued positive outlook she has displayed ever since, despite some quite clear discomfort."

Tributes and donations began pouring in after news of his death broke.

The total amount raised at 7pm stood at almost £3000 - with the number of donations doubling from 65 to 130 in the hour since his death was announced.

Mark Jameson, who also ran in yesterday's race, donated £10 and wrote: "God bless you Rob. Your family must be so proud of you, raising money to help your Mum and others. So sorry it had to end in this way. R.I.P."

One anonymous donor added: "I didn't know you but am so sad you gave your life doing such a wonderful thing. God bless you."

Another read: "In memory of Mr Berry (RIP). You gave your life trying to do good for others."

A statement from race organiser Virgin Money said: "It is with regret that we can now confirm that Mr Robert Berry, aged 42, collapsed at the finish of the London Marathon. He was immediately taken to one of our medical facilities where he was treated by four consultants, including one in emergency medicine. He was transferred to St Mary's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"The organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon would like to continue to express their sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Berry and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them all at this difficult time."

The last death was in 2012 when event hairdresser Claire Squires, 30, from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, collapsed a mile from the finishing line and died later from cardiac failure.

Mr Berry, who worked in IT services, ran the Reading half marathon last month.

His website includes an interview with his mother Anne, where she describes having limited mobility as a result of osteoporosis.

"Despite the regular pain and discomfort, with the two hip operations on bones the density of someone typically the age of 100, I am able to walk short distances and with my husband's support it is manageable," says Mrs Berry.

According to his training regime, Mr Berry had been preparing for the marathon since December.

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