It is with deep sadness that the club has to report that Aaron Reading, a much valued and respected member since the club’s inception in 2015, died last Thursday after an eight month illness.
Aaron came to the sport of triathlon relatively late after spending much of his earlier years participating in a variety of activities including mountain climbing, canoeing, paragliding and cycling. Perhaps he really was the club’s original “man for every occasion”. When he first joined St Helens Tri he never really saw himself as someone who would make his mark on the world of multisport but he quickly grew into his new venture and did what he did best, prove his doubts wrong. His most notable achievements included returning to Lancaster University, where he studied for his degree, to complete the autumn triathlon in consecutive years, as well as the Willowbrook Duathlon and the Warrington 10k. But perhaps his most significant contribution to the local racing scene was his involvement in the conception of the Stadt Moers Parkrun.
Set in 220 acres of land in the borough of Knowsley, Stadt Moers Park was cleared in 1983 by the local council to create an open space for all to enjoy, and in 2017 Aaron’s brainchild was born on the slopes, flatlands and (usually) muddy field on this once-barren wasteland situated between Whiston and Huyton just off Tarbock Island. He also competed on several occasions at his home event as well as appearing five times at St Helens Parkrun where he recorded his best time of 27:47 in July 2017. His future plans looking ahead had included his first open water triathlon, which he had mixed thoughts about, always one to sample the great outdoors but never keen on the idea of swimming close to fish!
Sadly such aspirations were never to be fulfilled, as he took ill just before Easter 2018. His battle inspired many, including Robert Chesters and Robert O’Shea who took back-to-back Parkrun victories at SMP in the weeks that followed, in two of the most improbable wins in club history. Aaron returned to Stadt Moers and St Helens Parkruns during his illness and even had the strength of character to complete both the Saturday 5k at SMP and the Griffin Grind in the same week just four months ago. However, he was not to beat his illness and tragically passed away on Thursday 15 November with the thoughts and memories of St Helens Tri with him until the end.
His funeral will take place at Our Lady Help of Chrstian’s Portico, postcode L34 2QT on Thursday 29 November at 10am, followed by the crematorium an hour later in St Helens, postcode WA10 6DF. By a twist of fate, this Saturday sees the 100th edition of the Stadt Moers Parkrun that became such a big part of Aaron’s life. In recent months the club has rarely reported on these “unofficial races”, however in Aaron’s memory it would be a fitting tribute for any Saturday morning regulars to tackle one of the North West’s most iconic yet underappreciated courses, to run one final time in Aaron’s memory, and as such next weekend‘s report will cover the Stadt Moers Parkrun together with last week‘s Movember 10k and Preston 10 mile road race.
Full details, including course, start time and how to register for a barcode are here at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/knowsley/.
Aaron Reading, 1966-2018.