*Plenty of warm tributes to John Dalzell (*above) following his sad loss.
Report by Don Hale. Photos by Steve Jeffery.
Plenty of warm tributes have poured in for popular North Wales Road Runner John Dalzell, who sadly lost his life last week in the most tragic of circumstances.
John (48) was a former rugby player and a keen endurance athlete who represented the club in numerous ultra-distance events and competed in a variety of challenging races across the UK, including a remarkable 53-mile Highland Fling event in Scotland, where he smashed records as the first Welsh Athlete.
The news of John’s loss both shocked and saddened the running community, with NWRRC official and Conwy parkrun MC, John Hatton, announcing the news at last Saturday’s parkrun, where fellow runners gave John Dalzell, (aka Jon Doe), a generous 30-seconds applause in his memory.
This week many stunned colleagues and friends paid tribute to John, and fondly remembered his work and sporting prowess in Devon, and later at Lichfield, and at Walsall in the West Midlands, including appearances as a local rugby star, and later at various parkruns as an athlete.
John took part in a total of 101 parkruns including 37 at the Walsall Aboretum venue, where he recorded an amazing course PB of just 18 minutes 52 seconds during a brief return to the area in February this year, and on 29th July, he also recorded a further course PB at Conwy of 19.31, before making his final appearance the following week on 5th August, where he celebrated his 60th Conwy parkrun.
*John Dalzell (*above) on one of his last appearances at Conwy Parkrun.
Personal memory of John’s last parkrun.
I must admit that too was really shocked to hear of the loss of my running colleague and friend, as it was only a couple of weeks ago that we ran together during the warm-up at the Conwy event, and not knowing it would be his last!
“We chatted about odds and ends and put the world to right. He always had time for everyone, and he was genuinely interested in how I was recovering from injury.”
There were many other tributes from NWRRC members, including Karl Morris, who said: “I was very sad to hear of the passing of a good running friend. John always made time for a chat at intervals and parkruns, and we were running buddies at the Pen Llyn Winter ultra – the only race I ever finished ahead of him.”
Steve Bozier added: “He was at nearly every Conwy parkrun, club run and interval session every week and will be sorely missed.”
Tony Gibson said: “What a top bloke in every aspect. I’m so pleased to have enjoyed many chats with John about life, and his aims in North Wales.”
Helen Hannam also remarked: Very sad to hear this tragic news. RIP Jon Doe! I will always remember when I was struggling at the Wrexham 20, and your encouraging words spurred me on. Will miss your random wise cracks at speed session. Top bloke and a sad loss. My thoughts are with your family.”
*Pictured above - John Dalzell (centre) with Karl Morris and Steve Bozier.
Friends in the West Midlands
John Dalzell was also remembered by many people who had previously know him from his time in the West Midlands, including Dean Husler, who stated: “I was a friend of John’s back in Birmingham. Tragic news that all his ex-rugby friends have just been informed of. We had some good times together and he was somewhat of a character on the pitch. Not sure how his life panned out in North Wales, but he was never really comfortable with his life in Brum.”
Other West Midlands friends included: Ann Robinson, who said: “I hope you don't mind me messaging you. I have just seen your report about John Dalzell. I worked with him when he lived in Lichfield, and continued to keep in touch via Facebook, when I completed in Run Wales events. I am so shocked to hear of his death. Could you please pass my condolences to his family.”
Rachel Partridge added: “Me and my husband remember John. A lovely chap, and a very good runner. My husband used to run with him about 17-years ago. Lovely man. Very sad news.”
*This was my previous sports blog about John Dalzell on 21/8/23: Don Hale Blog: Emotional morning as Conwy parkrunners paid tribut... https://donhaleblog.blogspot.com/2023/08/emotional-morning-as-conwy-parkrunners.html?spref=tw
*The North Wales Pioneer have also run a special tribute page following the receipt of messages sent to me earlier this week: https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/23745399.popular-conwy-runner-always-time-everyone/?ref=fbshr&fbclid=IwAR2LBUO-zp76dmr3Z1khi9HjumDz0TLsObxDscNZ7CeXdfPQhsiE1Qx69Aw