Missing Team GB fell runner's family 'desperate' for his safe return

29 October 2020, 15:32 | Updated: 29 October 2020, 15:33

Chris Smith, an experienced mountain runner, has been missing since Tuesday
Chris Smith, an experienced mountain runner, has been missing since Tuesday. Picture: Elaine Smith
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The family of Team GB fell runner Chris Smith have said they are "desperate" for his safe return after the athlete went missing on Tuesday.

Chris Smith headed out for a run from Invervar near Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross, at around 3pm on Tuesday in what his family described as "normal activity" for the mountain runner.

The 43-year-old was planning on a route which included four Munros (mountains), Meall nan Aighean, Carn Mairg, Meall Garbh and Carn Gorm, that would have seen him return at around 5pm.

However, his family called the emergency services after becoming concerned that he had failed to make it home.

A search and rescue operation is now in its third day and has involved mountain rescue teams, Police Scotland and the Coastguard helicopter.

Mr Smith's sister-in-law Elaine told the BBC the family "desperately want to bring Chris home".

The athlete's family have said they are desperate for his safe return
The athlete's family have said they are desperate for his safe return. Picture: GoFundMe

She said: "We're thinking that something has gone wrong at some point on his run.

"I guess our hope at this moment is that maybe he's been slightly injured and he's sheltering somewhere because he's not able to walk.

"That's our hope at the moment, and we've got to remain positive, which is what we're doing."

The family, including his wife Lindsay and two sons, are concerned the athlete may have become disorientated during his run and ended up further away than he planned to be.

Mr Smith is originally from Aberdeenshire but now lives in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

Inspector Emma Bowman, from Tayside police division, said: "Chris is an experienced hill walker and fell runner, so it is naturally concerning that he remains missing at this time.

"Our thoughts are with his family as the searches continue today.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has taken part in the searches so far and ask anyone who has any information about Chris's whereabouts to contact police on 101, quoting incident 2775 of October 27."

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to support the work of Scottish Mountain Rescue in the search for Mr Smith, and nearly £4,000 has been raised so far.

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