The wife of a runner who collapsed just metres before the finish line of a 10k race in Weybridge has paid tribute to her "good, caring, loving hubby and daddy".
Czeslaw Dudek, 37, from Feltham, had taken part in the Asics Weybridge Sports 10k Run, but collapsed just 400m before the finish line by the Weybridge Health Club in Walton Lane on Sunday morning at about 10.30am.
His wife Sylwia and their seven-year-old daughter had been cheering him on at the finish line before he collapsed.
Mr Dudek stretching before the race yesterday with his seven-year-old daughter (pic: Sylwia Dudek)
She said: "He was my star, my supporter and my only lover and friend in one. He was our whole world.
"He was a good caring and loving hubby and daddy. He left us way too early. We love him to the moon and back and will be missing him so much."
She added that the couple would have celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary in August.
Mr Dudek, a carpenter who had lived with his family in the UK for 12 years, had been taking part in his first timed running event when he died.
A fundraising page, set up by friend Ilo Bienkowska, has already raised more than £5,000 in 17 hours.
Ms Bienkowska said her "dear friend and colleague" was "never able to finish the race".
Mr Dudek running in the race yesterday (pic: Sylwia Dudek)
She said: "He was a loving and caring dad and husband. His sudden death has left his wife and seven-year-old daughter in tragic situation and shatter their lives.
"No amount of money will bring Czeslaw back, but hopefully it will help his family do whatever they need to do."
Friend Beata Moczulska wrote on Facebook: "Today we lost our greatest friend. His sudden death left us all in the biggest shock."
Weybridge Sports 10k, who organised the event, released a statement today.
It said: "It is with regret that we have learnt of the death of a competitor in the 2017 Weybridge 10k.
"A 37-year-old man collapsed before the finish line and although immediate medical attention was provided to the casualty, the fatality was confirmed on his arrival at hospital.
"The organisers of the Weybridge 10k would like to express their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
"We will not be releasing any further details of this tragic incident as we are in direct contact with the family and respect their privacy.
"We would like to emphasise our immediate concern is for the family of the deceased. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time."
To donate to the appeal, click here.
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