TEAM GB runner Chris Smith succumbed to hypothermia when the weather on his afternoon run in the Perthshire hills turned deadly.

The 43-year-old, who was described as experienced and passionate about running, died despite meticulous planning when conditions deteriorated.

Driving sleet, reduced visibility and a wind chill of -11c caused him to become disorientated, an inquest heard.

A post-mortem examination at the University Hospital in Dundee concluded he died from hypothermia.

Assistant coroner for West Sussex Robert Simpson concluded his death was an accident caused by the adverse weather conditions.

His wife Lindsay Smith told the inquest at the coroner’s court in Crawley: “He hadn’t taken the route lightly and had fully researched it.

“I felt he was fully prepared.”

The father-of-two was from Aberdeen, but lived in Haywards Heath, West Sussex with his wife and two children.

He had represented Team GB in international mountain running events and also worked as a civil servant.

The whole family enjoyed outdoor pursuits, the inquest heard.

They had been on holiday touring Scotland in October last year when he planned his run in the Perthshire hills.

On October 27, he set off to run near the hotel at Glen Lyon where the family were staying.

He set off around 2.50pm carrying a phone with an OS map of the area telling his family he would be back by 5pm.

When she had not heard from him by 7.22pm, his wife called police.

An extensive search and rescue operation failed to find him and his body was not located until October 29 when two of his friends found him lying in the heather 230m above sea level, well off his planned route.

The coroner said he had taken off his hat, gloves, jacket and watch and laid them out next to him.

Paradoxical undressing is a feature of hypothermia and increases heat loss, the court heard.

The Argus: Members of his running club formed part of the funeral processionMembers of his running club formed part of the funeral procession

The coroner said: “Chris was obviously and extremely fit man with a focus on outdoor activities.

“He was adequately equipped for what he wanted to do that day.

“The weather on the night was quite frankly horrendous in the mountains.

“It was -11c with driving rain and sleet and reduced visibility.

“He was found lying in the heather, waterproof jacket and gloves removed.

“He may have tried to escape the weather or become disorientated due to his hypothermia or the weather.

“He removed his hat, gloves and jacket due to the effects of hypothermia.”

The coroner said he would record the date of death as October 29.

“I do find it unlikely he could’ve survived the night given his location, clothes and equipment he had with him,” he said.

The extensive, detailed and lengthy search and rescue operation was praised by the family and coroner for the professionalism, dedication and empathy of those involved.

“Significant efforts were made to find him,” Mr Simpson said.

The coroner expressed his condolences to the family and said: “I have absolutely no doubt it came as a massive shock.

“None of us are a match for the possible effects of nature.

“I’m sure you will have good memories of him and hope you can focus on those for the future.”

After the inquest, his family released a statement paying tribute.

They said: "Whilst we may never know exactly what happened to Chris, it is clear that he was doing everything he could to run back to his family.

"Chris will always be remembered as a fantastic dad, husband, son brother and uncle. A beacon of energy and love, and an example of a life so very well lived."

The family have set up a memorial fund in his memory to support other athletes.