After all the euphoria of the weekend it is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of George Stewart who lost his battle with cancer on Saturday in his New Zealand homeland at the age of 49. Our deep condolences go to his wife Caroline, his young daughter Sophie, the rest of his family and his many friends.
George was an incredible athlete. A junior international triathlete for NZ, he joined London Heathside just over 10 years ago and made an immediate impact within the club. In 2010, at the age of 40, he ran 1:55 for 20 miles, still a club record and 2:37.47 in the London Marathon to rank 22nd V40 in the UK.
He won our coveted Turner Shield three years on the trot between 2010 and 2014 with a 2nd place in 2014/15 behind Tom Aldred. He last ran for the club in 2016 with performances inside the top 80 in the Metropolitan League before finally returning to his native country.
On top of his achievements, George was also a very generous athlete. He was great to train with and was always supportive of his clubmates. He would often be the top-placed runner for the club in Cross Country, only to mention in passing that he had already completed a full 90 minutes of football in the morning. He was very competitive but was equally magnanimous in defeat (except in cards where he took no prisoners).
He returned to the club for a few months last summer when he was in the throes of battling cancer. He still managed a speed session on Hampstead Heath and put some of the regulars to shame with his pace and determination. He always enjoyed the social aspect of the club and was never happier than having a few beers whilst dissecting the recent session or race.
If ever there was a human metaphor for living each day to the fullest, George would be it.
Jerry Odlin, 12 February 2018
Thank you to Jackie Wastell, Martin Potter and Sue Rust for their contributions.
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