TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Stafford athlete who has been killed in a road accident at the age of 41.
Former Stafford Harriers runner Kate Burge died at the scene after being involved in a collision with a Range Rover on the Isle of Man.
The physiotherapist, who moved to the island in 2011, was cycling home from work at Noble’s Hospital with two colleagues when the crash happened.
Kate, originally from Rising Brook, joined the Harriers in 1994 and rapidly built a reputation as an accomplished distance runner, as well as a triathlete.
“She was held in high esteem by all who knew her,” said Pete Burns, former chairman of Stafford Harriers.
“She was well known for encouraging and helping all of us who ran with the Harriers and she will be very sadly missed.
“As a very experienced phsiotherapist, she was a great help in training our members and advising them on sports injuries.
“And she was involved in all sorts of sports around Stafford, including teaching spin and pilates classes at the old Riverside sports centre.
“Our thoughts are with her family, loved ones and friends.”
Kate competed at national level, and was the winner of numerous races around the country, specialising in 10-mile and half marathon distances. Her victories included winning the Stafford Half Marathon in 2006.
Kate was also a leading ranked performer on British Athletics’ Power of 10 rankings. Her cycling skills helped her to finish 10th in the ITU Duathlon World Championships in 1996. She won the UK standard distance elite class women’s duathlon championship the following year. And she won regional triathlon championships in 1994 and 1995.
Her new friends in the Isle of Man, where she was a member of Manx Fell Runners, also paid tribute to her.
Richie Stevenson, chairman of Manx Fell Runners, said: "Kate was a very pleasant and likeable person and a talented athlete who could perform to a very high standard on fells, road and cross country."
And director of nursing at Noble’s Hospital Bev Critchlow said: ‘Kate was a valued and much loved member of staff.
‘Her commitment and dedication to her patients always shone through and her loss comes a shock to many in the Health Service, not least her close colleagues in the physiotherapy department.”
Kate’s parents still live in Stafford and it is understood that her funeral will be held in the town.