Runner and organiser of the West Highland Way Race; Born March 27, 1963; Died July 12, 2009.

Dario Melaragni, who has died of a suspected heart attack aged 46, was a runner and organiser of the popular West Highland Way Race. The Scottish athletics community has been stunned by his sudden death. He collapsed with a suspected heart attack while out on a training run/walk with a group of friends on Lochnagar, in Aberdeenshire. He had been involved in athletics all his life, discovering a love of running at school in Edinburgh at Fettes College.

Born in Falkirk, he attended St Francis School locally before moving on to Fettes when he was 11. It was here he discovered running, captaining the cross country team and encouraging other pupils to join him on runs around the grounds and the neighbouring city streets. Further education was at Falkirk College, where he was to meet his future wife Gilian.

For most of his working life he was employed by the Inland Revenue and worked in various positions in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling. He was also actively involved through this time with the Civil Service Sports Association, helping with the annual athletic championships. Through work colleagues he also became actively involved with volunteer work for the Breast Cancer Care charity.

Melaragni was a former member of Central Athletic Club for whom he competed on the track. He was then instrumental in founding Harlequins AC which struggled to attract members and often resulted in him and friends competing in events, on the track and field.

After "retiring" from the track, he was a member of Hunters Bog Trotters for several years and recently was a member of his local Strathearn Harriers. However it is with the West Highland Way that he will be forever associated. Gradually developing a love of the trails and hills, he started entering some of the classic Scottish hill races. It was after the Stuc a Chroin race near Strathyre, that it was suggested he might like to try something longer. Such as The West Highland Way. Not walking it as most sensible people do, but taking part in the annual race on midsummer weekend. This led him to train for, and complete, the classic 95-mile route in 1995, the longest event in Scotland's athletics fixture list.

He completed the race twice more, and when Jim Stewart, then race organiser, stepped down in 2000, it was Melaragni who stepped in, as he would have been devastated if what he considered to be "the most amazing event in the world" did not take place.

Although never having organised a race in his life before, after being guided in the first year by one or two friends who had, he grew into this new challenge, and the West Highland Way event has grown, with his total enthusiasm and selflessness, to become one of the classic ultra events in Great Britain, attracting runners from Europe and north America.

He left the civil service in 2007, and trained as a personal fitness instructor, starting his own business, Personal Fit. Earlier this year he had also taken on the organisation of an event on the 62-mile Caterun Trail in Perthshire.

An indication of the regard in which he was held can be gleaned by the fact that since news of his passing was posted on it has received tributes from around the world. He is survived by his wife Gilian. By ADRIAN STOTT