Paul Woodgate – tribute and donations

Paul’s funeral took place on Wednesday 9th December 2020.

Donations in memory of Paul to Meadow House Hospice can be made online at

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-davies135

 

Paul Woodgate 1974-2020

We are immensely saddened to advise that Paul has died from cancer at the age of 45.

Paul joined TVH in 2004 competing in road, cross country and track races and volunteering  in many different roles, including as a timekeeper and organising our series of road races. He was best known as a road runner,  with his methodical approach to training and the dedication to be able to keep improving and set many of his best performances in 2019, with very few people aware that he was undergoing treatment for a severe illness.

Paul continued to compete through the 2019/20 winter season in cross country races and parkruns when he was strong enough to do so. When he was no longer able to run and we returned to group training in the summer, Paul helped out on busy Saturday mornings until October, coaching athletes, setting sessions and timing virtual races. Typically of Paul he was very grateful to be able to still help out and fulfil a role for his friends and the club.  He remained upbeat and witty until the very end.

Paul started working hard on his training between 2013 and 2015 competing regularly over shorter distances and improved his marathon time from 3:29 to 3:13.  On the track Paul started qualifying as a timekeeper and when circumstances allowed he would jump down from the stand to compete in the 5000m, 3000m or steeplechase at Southern Athletics League meetings. Paul progressed to become chief timekeeper at our home fixtures and officiated at Middlesex County AA events.  At Southern Counties Veterans League meetings Paul competed at every distance from 100m to 3,000m and in the relays.  His 3,000m PB of 10:41 happened very late in the evening in the final race at a Watford open meeting, with several TVH colleagues staying on to support him.

London Marathon 2016 with Tracy & Kirstie

Paul was a regular Saturday morning parkrunner, competing more than 100 times with most of them at Wormwood Scrubs (where he also volunteered many times), followed by a get-together in the clubhouse.

Paul’s main goal as an athlete was to break 3 hours in the marathon and after a good winter’s training he looked ready to do so at the 2016 London Marathon,  but slowed slightly in the last 2 miles to finish in 3:01.02.  In the next two years Paul’s marathon efforts were severely hampered by treatment and a very hot day for the 2018 London Marathon.  This meant that Paul no longer had the ‘good for age’ qualifying time; he was still determined to break 3 hours and he wanted to do it in the London Marathon. He set about getting a place in the 2019 race and did so by winning our TVH Ron Hopcroft road race series to secure a coveted club place. Amongst many great performances from TVH athletes at the 2019 London Marathon, Paul’s 2:59.22 was the most impressive and the one that gave the most pleasure to his friends and coaches.

London Marathon 2019 with Sage and Rob

Paul was able to follow his great marathon performance  to compete on the track that summer as well as timekeeping at our fixtures. His final track race was at our Southern Athletics League meeting at Southampton in August 2019. Paul travelled down early to compete in the Southampton parkrun (not at all happy with his 19:38 after getting held up at the start in the field of 1,000 runners), followed by timekeeping and the 2,000m steeplechase. The following week Paul found out at a routine check-up that the cancer was spreading.

Paul will be greatly missed, we will always remember him for his great enthusiasm and dedication to his training, support for his friends and colleagues and willingness to help the club prosper. He always arrived early for cross country races to support the women’s team and to marshal the young athletes races at Wormwood Scrubs.  He was extremely generous and selfless with his time for everyone and volunteered as the treasurer at a local charity. Paul was very passionate about running and always happy to pass on advice to others from his own experiences of marathon training.

Running the marathon

Paul Oppe adds:  I am honoured to have been Paul’s coach for most of his time at TVH. Paul was a great athlete to coach, on a Sunday evening I would get an email summarising the week’s training and his plan for the next week. Often we would agree a small change to the schedule as he continued to improve, culminating in his 2.59.22 in 2019. The more I got to know Paul, the more we found in common. We were both members of our local Labour Party and he was Chair of Governors at the school my wife, Diana, worked. He worked well with Rachael Martin the Head Teacher at Twyford Primary School, supporting her in making the school one of the best in Ealing. Paul brought great determination and inspiration to many across many walks of life: Work, local community and TVH.

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