Felixstowe: Marathon man Stan Cox loses fight for life just days before Olympic torch arrives
WARM tributes were today paid to former Olympian Stan Cox, who has sadly lost his battle for life just days before he was due to complete his dream of seeing the 2012 Games flame.
Friends had been arranging a front row seat for the 93-year-old former marathon man, and it was hoped Stan would be able to hold the Olympic torch at a Town Hall reception for torchbearers.
But failing health had dogged the retired long distance runner for the past year, and he died in Felixstowe Community Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning – exactly a month before the official opening ceremony of the Games.
Stan, of Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe, was one of the last survivors of Britain’s team from the 1948 London games and had been invited to attend this summer’s big event, and given tickets to the Olympic Stadium to see some of the athletics.
His grandson Matt Broekstra said: “He had a wonderful life and will missed by us all. It was such a shame he couldn’t hang on to see the Olympics.”
Friends and family said today he had a zest for life, and even into his 90s still led health walks in Felixstowe, his home for the past 33 years, and could be seen daily out walking around the resort.
His daughter Delphine Broekstra said: “Athletics was his life. He so much wanted to see the Olympic torch and had really been looking forward to it coming to Felixstowe. He almost made it but not quite.
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“We are all really proud of what he achieved and he ran at a time when I always think people did it for their country, a time before money was involved.”
Stan competed in the 10,000m in 1948, when he was the British six-mile champion.
In an interview last year he said he could still clearly remember the event and the amazing atmosphere and was eager to see what the modern games would be like.
“I had to take a day off work, unpaid, or a day’s holiday, to take part in my race – and then it was back to work the next day!” he said.
Mr Cox also took part in the 1952 Helsinki Games, running in the marathon.
At that time he was one of the top two marathon runners in the world but collapsed with a health problem after 22 miles of the 26-mile race.