Tributes paid to a 'true gentleman' following death of runner Ryan Snodgrass
Tributes have been paid to "a true gentleman" from the running fraternity in the north-west following the sudden death of Ryan Snodgrass.
Mr Snodgrass was a member of the Foyle Valley Athletics Club who announced the sad news on their social media site on Monday.
A father to Eimear, Eoin and Ellie, Mr Snodgrass died at his home in Londonderry.
Shocked friends recalled seeing him out running last week and waving to them as usual.
In a Facebook tribute, Eimear posted a picture of Mr Snodgrass with the message: "Behind those smiling faces you never know what someone is going through."
Mr Snodgrass was due to take part in a memorial run next week for a close friend and fellow marathon runner, Marty Gallagher.
Mr Gallagher (25) was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he returned home after Derry's Halloween celebrations in 2009. A 23-year-old Derry man later pleaded guilty to causing death through dangerous driving.
Mr Snodgrass was one of four brothers and is survived by his mother Margaret Cassidy.
He was a very familiar figure among those involved in the Londonderry running scene and recently finished 13th in the Walled City Marathon.
Among those paying tribute was Tom Doherty, captain of Foyle Valley Athletics Club.
He said: "We were so shocked and saddened when we heard Ryan had died so tragically. He was a member of our club for around 10 years and was a true gentleman. He was a dedicated runner who specialised in long distance running and was due to take part in our annual Marty's Run next week in memory of Marty Gallagher who was one of Ryan's closest friends in the club.
"He will be a big loss to our club and we have been touched by the kind words offered from running clubs across the wider north-west who would all have known Ryan.
"Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to Ryan's family at this very sad time."
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, who is also a keen runner, said he too was sad to hear that Ryan had died.
Mr Durkan said: "It was with real regret that I heard of Ryan's death. I saw him just last Saturday when he was out running. I sounded the horn of my car and he waved back which was typical of him. Ryan was an excellent runner, well above my level, but he would always stay with you and say hello and give you encouragement."
Springwell Running Club posted its condolences on the Foyle Valley Athletics Club's Facebook, saying: "Please accept heartfelt condolences from Springwell Running Club members at the sudden passing of Ryan Snodgrass. Our thoughts are with his friends, family and team mates at this sad time."
Dozens of others also posted on the club's page saying how sorry they were to hear of Mr Snodgrass' death. If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, contact the Samaritans on 084 5790 9090 or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000.