Obituary: Popular runner who loved bright clothes dies suddenly aged 41

Wymondham Athletic Club's Hannah Purvis gives the camera a wave. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Wymondham Athletic Club's Hannah Purvis gives the camera a wave. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a popular runner who has died unexpectedly at the age of 41. 

Hannah Purvis, of Cringleford, near Norwich, was well-known in the running community for her “kindness and big smile” as well as her penchant for bright leggings. 

A member of Wymondham Athletics Club (WAC), her family and friends described their shock following Hannah’s death. 

Speaking at a recent WAC meeting, friend and member Katie Whitmore said: “Hannah made so many friends through her love of running and she had so much time for everyone she came into contact with. 

“She was always smiling, no matter how tough she was finding a run, and she always made the best race photographs, usually with her hands in the air and a big cheeky grin on her face.” 

Eye-catching: Hannah Purvis always stood out from the crowd with her bright-coloured clothing

Eye-catching: Hannah Purvis always stood out from the crowd with her bright-coloured clothing - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The youngest of three, Hannah was born on July 10, 1980 in Boston, Lincolnshire, and spent the first few months of her life in nearby Spalding. 

The following year the family moved back to Norfolk where Hannah attended nursery in Cromer before becoming a pupil at Suffield Park. 

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As the family moved around the county, she also attended Great Hockham Primary School, Wayland Community High School (now Wayland Academy) in Watton, and Swaffham Sixth Form. 

During her childhood, Hannah enjoyed dancing and took ballet lessons at the Fiona Howard School of Ballet in Attleborough. 

Despite being described as “not sporty at school”, and with no previous experience, she took up running five years ago.

From Parkrun and 5k and 10k runs to completing half marathons, Hannah found her “happy place” among other like-minded individuals. 

Dressed from head to toe in bright pinks, lilacs and neon, she completed well over 100 Parkrun events and had dozens of medals to her name, achieved by completing numerous races. 

She was particularly admired for her love of running up hills and would describe them as “mountains of opportunities”. 

Her family said: “She was bubbly and never sat still. She was talkative. If her eyes were open, her mouth was too.

“She was also sensitive and wore her heart on her sleeve. 

“Lots of her friends have said how kind and thoughtful she was and how she would do anything for you.” 

Running became Hannah’s passion and she could be found running into work some days and would even run on Christmas Day morning before enjoying the day’s festivities with a glass of wine. 

She preferred running in the summer, due to her petite frame, but would continue to brave it in the winter by wrapping up with at least five layers before peeling them off one by one as she warmed up. 

Mrs Whitmore added: “What she lacked in size and stature, she made up for in courage and determination.  

“She gave her best in every run that she did but she was also her own worst critic. It’s hard to believe that prior to her joining WAC in 2017, Hannah never ran a step and yet she went on to become a great runner in a very short space of time. 

“Hannah described her running inspiration as anyone who was brave enough to put on some trainers and go for a run – no matter how slow or fast, as a 12-minute mile is just as far as a six-minute mile. 

“She was described as kind, encouraging, smiling, bubbly, a beautiful soul and a true friend.” 

Hannah worked as a credit controller at insurance company CNA Hardy and had previously worked at Aviva and Specsavers before moving to Cringleford in 2012. 

Away from running, she enjoyed relaxing with a cross-stitch project. 

Hannah Purvis died suddenly on April 1 after becoming ill unexpectedly. She leaves behind her parents Richard and Liz, brother Stuart, sister Victoria, “adored” nephew Joshua, and partner Andrew. 

Her funeral will take place at Breckland Crematorium 

Colney Lane parkrun will be celebrating Hannah’s life with a remembrance run on April 16. Attendees are asked to come and wear bright colours in celebration of “such a dear life lost”.