Cardiff Half Marathon: Family retrace final steps after death

Ben McDonald and Dean Fletcher Image copyright Family photos
Image caption Ben McDonald and Dean Fletcher crossed the finish line within minutes of each other

The family of one of the men who died after collapsing at the end of the Cardiff Half Marathon has retraced his final steps to lay flowers.

Relatives of Ben McDonald, 25, from Cardiff, walked the last 200m of the route to lay flowers at the finish.

His brother Andrew said they wanted "to see what he saw".

They also laid bouquets on behalf of the family of Dean Fletcher, 32, from Exeter, who also died after Sunday's 13-mile race.

Both men had cardiac arrests at the finish line and later died at the city's University Hospital of Wales.

Andrew McDonald described his brother as a "wonderful, wonderful person, he was just our little brother - the fourth child".

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ben McDonald (red number label) ran the event with family members

"Ben was so loving and he had so many friends across the globe," he added.

Ben, who had worked at the Cardiff White Water Centre since the age of 16, had also qualified as a teacher. He was a keen bodyboarder, snowboarder and kayaker.

His older brother said family members visited the finish line area near Cardiff University buildings on Wednesday morning.

"We just wanted to relive Ben's final steps, we wanted to see what he saw," he said.

"So we all crossed the finish line and we walked the last couple of hundred metres."

Ben's charity page, in aid of Maternity Africa in north Tanzania, has had hundreds of individual donations over the last few days and almost £13,000 has been pledged so far.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ben as a baby with his midwife Jude Holden

Midwife Jude Holden, a family friend who delivered Ben 25 years ago, is a leading figure in the charity.

Andrew said the fundraising page began after well-wishers and running clubs, who had heard about Ben's death, wanted to donate in his memory.

"Apparently (race organiser) Run 4 Wales was inundated by running clubs around the country which wanted to donate," said Andrew.

"So they suggested we choose a charity - our parents have just got back from visiting it overseas, they went and met the people it is already helping.

"We know the money isn't going to bring Ben back.

"There is nothing you can say and nothing you can do, it just shows people care."

Image copyright family photo
Image caption Dean Fletcher with wife Katie and their daughter Evie posed for a picture before the race

Andrew added the family also laid sunflowers in memory of Dean Fletcher.

He was part of the 350-strong Team Cardiff group raising money for Cardiff University research.

Run 4 Wales chief executive Matt Newman said earlier this week: "This is a terrible tragedy for the families. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends of both Ben and Dean."

Image copyright BBC Wales
Image caption Flowers and tributes laid in memory of Ben and Dean

About 20,000 people took part this year, on the race's 15th anniversary.

A review will now be carried out by race organisers, as is standard practice each year.

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