Preston Olympian John Nuttall dies aged 56

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Preston Harriers are mourning the loss of one of its greatest athletes John Nuttall, who has died aged 56 from a heart attack.

A former Great Britain long-distance runner and coach, Nuttall represented Britain at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as well as two World Championships. He won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada.

After retirement, Nuttall worked as an endurance coach for UK Athletics before later joining the Aspire Academy in Qatar, where he worked alongside his wife, former 10,000m world champion Liz McColgan.

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McColgan – who won gold at the worlds in 1991 and was an Olympic silver medallist in 1988 – said in a social media post Nuttall had died on Thursday morning.

GB coach John Nuttall (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)GB coach John Nuttall (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
GB coach John Nuttall (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart I write this. My husband John Nuttall died yesterday morning with a sudden heart attack,” McColgan wrote on Instagram.

“A much loved dad, son, brother and husband. For those that loved John our hearts are breaking.”

British women’s 10,000m record holder Eilish McColgan – daughter of Liz – reflected on the family’s “huge loss” following the sudden death of her step-father.

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“It’s hard to find the words right now,” she said on Instagram.

John Nuttall won bronze in the 5,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth GamesJohn Nuttall won bronze in the 5,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games
John Nuttall won bronze in the 5,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games

“We’ve spent the last six weeks here in Doha, with my mum and John, and so his passing has been a huge shock. We are still trying to process it. He will be missed by us all.”

A statement from UK Athletics read: “Everyone at UKA is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our former colleague John Nuttall.

“His loss is felt deeply by friends and colleagues here at UKA who worked alongside and knew John. Our thoughts are very much with his family and close friends at this time.”