FELLOW runners paid a perfect tribute to a talented athlete whose body was found in the Scottish Highlands.

Father-of-two Chris Smith, from Haywards Heath, was on holiday there last month and had gone fell running.

His family became concerned when he did not return and contacted the emergency services, which launched a large search for the 43-year-old.

On October 29, two days after he had set out, police confirmed that a body had been found.

This was later identified as the former Team GB athlete.

The Argus:

An inquest opening into his death this month said he died from hypothermia brought on by exposure.

His funeral was held in Cuckfield on Friday, with fellow runners paying tribute to the popular athlete in their own way.

Members of several running clubs flanked the hearse as it made its way to Holy Trinity Church, where the service was held.

Following his death, Haywards Heath Harriers running club issued a tribute to Chris, sharing members’ memories of him.

These included his staggering 5km time at the Clair Park ParkRun in the town – 15 minutes and 46 seconds.

“(That) is going to take something very special to be challenged,” the tribute read.

“Chris’s death affects us all. Whether you knew him well or had only just met him, the loss of the opportunity to get to know him better is one of the cruellest and most heart-breaking parts of this.

“We have lost someone special and very dear to us.

“Chris was a part of our running family, we will miss and forever remember him.

The Argus:

“So, the next time you find yourself up on the South Downs, battling the perpetual wind and driving rain, maybe dig that little bit deeper and say to yourself, just one more rep to the top of the tank tracks… for Chris.”

Chris was born in Scotland and began his athletics career in Aberdeen.

He later moved south and joined the Thames Valley Harriers when he was 24, setting blistering times in several five-mile events across the UK.

He later discovered mountain running and fell running, quickly working his way into the international fold. He competed as part of the British mountain running team at the World and European Championships on several occasions, earning a series of podium places with Team GB.