A major search was under way on Wednesday for an international mountain runner who vanished after taking on four Munros in the Glen Lyon area of Perthshire.
Father-of-two Chris Smith, 43, was last seen at around 3pm on Tuesday. He was reported missing at 7.30pm, around two hours after he was expected back.
The Tayside Mountain Rescue team and Police Scotland set up an incident control base at Invervar as an aerial search party scoured parts of Chesthill Estate and nearby countryside.
My cousin is missing after going for a run in Glen Lyon is Perthshire yesterday. He's an experienced fell runner and could have become disorientated and ended up further afield. Please share. pic.twitter.com/rEnmUWndSx
— Ruth McKee (@ruthamckee) October 28, 2020
Family members issued appeals on social media, saying Mr Smith, who has represented Great Britain internationally, had set out to run four Munros, the smallest of them 968m high.
The Thames Valley and Haywards Heath Harrier is a veteran hillrunner and has competed at world championship and European championship mountain running competitions.
In the summer of 2013, he finished eighth at the 11.8km men’s event at the European Championships in Borovets, Bulgaria. Two years later, he recorded a top ten finish at the World Championships in Wales.
His brother-in-law Billy Milligan was among those pleading for information on Wednesday.
“Chris is an experienced fell runner and dad of two boys who are missing him so much,” he said.
“He went out to run Meall nan Aighean, Carn Mairg, Meall Garbh and Carn Gorm yesterday at 3pm, leaving from Invervar, and should have been back at 5pm.
“He may have become disorientated and ended up further afield.”
Sister-in-law Elaine Smith, who is acting as the family’s search co-ordinator, said: “It’s been a pretty horrendous day, or horrendous 24 hours really.
“He’s such a fit guy, he’s got a sensible head on him. We’re keeping all of that in our minds and just staying as positive as we can.
“None of that takes away that it’s a really upsetting situation, this is something that happens to other people, isn’t it? It doesn’t happen to you.
“We don’t want anyone to forget Chris’s face.”
A police spokesman said: “Officers in Perthshire and mountain rescue teams are carrying out searches in the Glen Lyon area, following reports of a missing 43-year-old man.
“Chris Smith was last seen at 3pm on Tuesday. Emergency services are being assisted in the search by the Coastguard helicopter.”
It is understood Mr Smith, who hails from Inverurie, now stays in the south of England and was holidaying in the area with his family.
Other competitive mountain runners from around the UK and Ireland have joined in the online appeals, posting pleas to find to the popular athlete.
Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro tweeted: “Many of you will remember Chris as a very talented youngster from Aberdeen Amateur Athletics Club in the 1990s before moving south where he competed for England and GB. Praying he is found safe.”
Please share, many of you will remember Chris as a very talented youngster from @AberdeenAAC in the 90s before moving south where he competed for England and GB. Praying he is found safe @scotathletics @BritAthletics @EnglandAthletic https://t.co/Yy4bWGRAuK
— SALMarkMunro (@SALMarkMunro) October 28, 2020
Anyone with information is urged to call Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2775 of October 27.