Investigation under way after death of nurse during cross-country run in Borders

Competitors in 2017's Mighty Deerstalker cross-country run at Innerleithen.
Competitors in 2017's Mighty Deerstalker cross-country run at Innerleithen.
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An investigation is under way following the death of a competitor in a night-time cross-country run in the Borders.

Heather Foggo died on Saturday evening shortly after the start of the annual Mighty Deerstalker run at Innerleithen.

Tragic nurse Heather Foggo.

Tragic nurse Heather Foggo.

The 48-year-old, a district nurse from Morpeth in Northumberland, was only about quarter of an hour into the 10-mile run when she fell ill shortly before 6pm.

An on-site medic and an off-duty paramedic attempted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on Mrs Foggo, a mother of two, by the side of the River Tweed, near Innerleithen Bridge, and an ambulance was called to take her to the Borders General Hospital at Melrose, but she was pronounced dead on arrival there.

Mrs Foggo, said to be an experienced runner, was one of 2,000 competitors in the race, split into eight groups, and she set off at Traquair House at 5.40pm to wade through water, run through woodland and scale hills in gathering darkness. She was one of seven runners to fail to complete the course.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Inquiries are continuing. However, there appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding this death.

Other runners at Saturday's event.

Other runners at Saturday's event.

“A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.”

A spokesman for the event’s organiser, York-based Rat Race Adventure Sports, said: “We are extremely saddened to confirm that a participant in our Mighty Deerstalker Event passed away.

“The 10-mile trail race was being held at Innerleithen in good weather conditions.

“The participant became unwell at 5.56pm, approximately one mile into the event, close to our event control station and at the location of one of our safety marshals.

“A member of our medical team was on the scene within three minutes as we implemented our response protocols.

“They were assisted by an off-duty paramedic until the arrival of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“Tragically, we have since learned that the individual passed away en route to hospital.

“Rat Race Adventure Sports will give full assistance to the appropriate authorities.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the deceased.”

The tragedy is the first death in the 11-year history of the Mighty Deerstalker race but the second to have hit a charity run in the Borders within months following that of Selkirk teacher Evelyn Rafferty, 59, at November’s Santa Jog at Bowhill House country park near the town.

Flowers and deerstalker hats have since been left as tributes along the course of the run, held in aid of the charity Children With Cancer UK.