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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

World

London Marathon death sparks charity donations surge

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

A participant rests after completing the London Marathon April 13, 2014.

LONDON - Tens of thousands of pounds in donations poured into a charity on Tuesday in memory of a London Marathon runner who collapsed at the finish line and died.

Robert Berry, 42, was treated by four consultants after completing the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometre) course on Sunday and was transferred to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He was running to raise money for the National Osteoporosis Society in recognition of the charity's support for his mother after she was diagnosed with a brittle bone condition.

Berry, who worked in computer services, had been hoping to raise £1,700 but by midday Tuesday, donations had topped £40,000 ($67,000, 48,000 euros).

On his JustGiving fundraising webpage, one anonymous donor wrote: "I didn't know you but am so sad you gave your life doing such a wonderful thing. God bless you."

In his final blog entry on April 6, he said breathing during a training run had been "a big struggle" and he had used his inhaler three times in the preceding week - as many times as he might normally do in a year.

Berry said his mother had been diagnosed with osteoporosis at the relatively early age of 52. The condition was triggered by a lifting incident five years before.

Due to the stress on her lower back, two sets of bones in her lower spine collapsed.

On his personal website, he wrote that his mother had been "an inspiration through the continued positive outlook she has displayed ever since, despite some quite clear discomfort".

Berry was the 12th runner to die in the London Marathon since the event started in 1981.

Meanwhile an elite runner from Sierra Leone who finished 20th in the women's race was still missing.

Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, had been due to fly home on Monday.

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