Long-distance running coach John Walsh, one of the founders of the Malta marathon, died while running this morning.

Mr Walsh, who was 56, set up the marathon together with a group of people in 1985.

Although he was primarily a coach, it was not the first time he joined his runners and even took part in the marathon during its first years.

The athletes he trained included his wife Carol nee Galea, who had won a medal in the Mediterranean games and was among the European top 50 at her best.

He also trained Lisa Bezzina, who won two silver medals in the last Small Nations Games.

Mr Walsh was a frequent writer in The Times, encouraging readers to get fit. His writings took the marathon to the people in the street and from an event which initially had some 30 participants, more than 1,000 people were now taking part.

The Nationalist and Labour parties expressed their condolences.

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