RAF officer dies during triathlon

Tributes are being paid to the second most senior officer in the RAF after he collapsed and died during a triathlon in Oxfordshire.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran, 54, was competing in the running part of the race at RAF Brize Norton on Wednesday 26 May 2010 when he was taken ill.

The keen runner - who was described as "fighting fit" - was airlifted to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He leaves wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, who are both at university, and son, who is at school.

Chief of Air Staff Sir Stephen Dalton said his deputy was a highly respected and courageous leader and his death was a "huge blow to the RAF and indeed, defence at large."

Sir Christopher was competing in was a sprint, or shorter version, of the swimming, cycling and running endurance event. It consisted of a 400m pool swim, 22km bike ride and a 5km run around the air base - with about 80 competitors taking part.

Sir Christopher was Commander-in-Chief of Air Command, a post he had held for the last 14 months. A keen runner, he was also president of RAF Triathlon.

He joined the air force as a university cadet while an engineering undergraduate in Manchester and went on to become a Harrier jump-jet pilot.

He became equerry for the Duke of Edinburgh in the early 1990s and also flew missions enforcing the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

Promoted Air Marshal in 1997, he became Deputy Commander of Allied Joint Force Command overseeing Nato's operation in Afghanistan.

RAF chief Sir Stephen said: "It is with great sadness and shock that I announce the untimely death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran.

"During a distinguished career, he served in a wide number of appointments; a Harrier pilot by background, he commanded Royal Air Force Wittering and was the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group.

"Sir Chris was also Equerry to The Duke of Edinburgh in the early 1990s. A highly respected and courageous leader, this tragic loss comes as a huge blow to the Royal Air Force and, indeed, Defence at large.

"Most importantly, our prayers and thoughts are with his family, to whom I offer my most sincere condolences on behalf of the Royal Air Force, serving and retired."