BvH mourns the loss of John Enright – 19/10/1970 – 8/5/2014

john_enright_bvh_I’m sure, by now, that most of you will have heard the devastating news that our friend and club mate, John Enright, collapsed at work on Thursday morning and died shortly afterwards. John was only 43 years old and leaves behind his wife, Rachel, and two young daughters, Lily and Poppy.

John had only been a member of Bournville Harriers for a year, but in that time, the impact he had on our running community was immense. He was a warm, generous and kind-spirited guy, who took it upon himself to befriend everyone within the club, irrespective of whether they were an ‘A’ Team Cross Country scorer, or someone turning up on a training night for the first time. John made a point of arriving early on club nights, wherever possible, so that he could talk to others and, especially, make any newcomers feel welcome; that was typical John.

When the club was asked to provide a marshal for one of the cross country races, John put his hand up, even though the race was an hour away and it meant an afternoon away from his family; again, typical of John.

If John was honest with himself, he had probably come to terms with the reality that his prospects of representing Team GB at Rio 2016 were slim. However, while that feint hope remained, John was going to do all he could to keep himself in the running. Since joining the club, John’s PBs over a variety of distances came down considerably. The last proper conversation I had with John was on Easter Saturday at Cannon Hill when he had once again broken his parkrun best and we talked about how he could bring it down further. We also talked about our children and how we were trying to encourage them (with limited success!) to embrace our love of running.

John represented the Cross Country and relays team with gusto. Some folks shy away from the particular challenges that can be presented on cold, wet, windy, muddy Saturday afternoons in winter, when whippet-quick youths (and Dean Parker) can expose the shortcomings in all of us, but John didn’t care; he was in his element. He loved running off road with his Jack Russell dog and completed The Wall Ultra a couple of years ago, so ploughing round a park in Coventry was never going to worry him.

When the nominations for this year’s club awards were announced, I looked at those up for the Newcomers Award and thought to myself, ‘there’s only one winner there’. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to the other nominees, but John had entirely captured the spirit of the club in every respect in his first year with us and it was the right and proper decision to give him the award.john_enright_awards

Prior to taking up running, John had been an accomplished boxer and also a popular figure on the local BMX scene. The last time I saw John running, I reflected that he would have made a formidable rugby player; I certainly wouldn’t have liked to have tried to stop him when he was in full flight. However, it was distance running that became his passion in recent years, and it was at a result of this love that he came into our lives.

People, understandably, have a tendency to speak highly of the dead and to gloss over their imperfections. In John’s case, though, there really is no need to embellish or exaggerate his many qualities; they were evident for us all to see every time we spent a few minutes in his company.

Reading through the many tributes that have been paid to John online over the last couple of days, one gets a sense of a humble, funny and gentle guy with no edge and no enemies. He touched people’s lives, whether they met him briefly on holiday or at a race, or if they had been longstanding colleagues or mates. It was simply a privilege to have known him and we are all blessed to have had that opportunity.

We cannot imagine the pain that Rachel, Lily and Poppy are going through right now, but we share some of their grief and we offer them our thoughts and prayers.

John was only a Bournville Harrier for a short time, but he will be remembered for many years to come. Farewell, Big Man; you will be missed.

Oliver Kirkland and Suz West



24 Replies to “BvH mourns the loss of John Enright – 19/10/1970 – 8/5/2014”

  1. A Poem for John Enright…. You would have been so proud to see the amount of friends and relatives far and wide to see you for your final journey .. Love you John you will be so sadly missed and when we say forever in our thoughts that’s what we truly mean , Such a sad loss for such a wonderful husband and daddy,brother cousin and son ,friend and colleague
    .The Running Club

    Plodder through midnight rain,
    Everlasting dreams of the perfect mile
    That complete run, the faultless race
    Just toe the line, so full of fear
    The starter: get set and let us go
    Just remember my young mind
    Remember the words from your master
    Not too fast, never to slow
    Just replay that last mile over and over
    The emotion of perfection fills with each breath

    As the joints shout to be remembered
    And the midday rain pays witness your reverie
    For each mile so lovingly caressed
    Stored and a daily reminiscence of perfection
    The unconditional joy of an aspiration
    The excuse for that one extra mile, extra minute
    Meditation shared with those that now
    The people who sweat, they bleed and just a single tear
    That shares a look, a single wave and a smile of knowing
    That only true love belongs to the running club
    Patrick Sant

    Fly with the Angels John xx

  2. Hello all x
    I’d like you to know that the arrangements have now been made for John Enright (John’s) Funeral…
    It is Friday the 23rd May at 10am at St Mary’s Church, Warwick Road, Acocks Green, and then for burial in his final resting place at Kings Norton Cemetery. We are then going to Scanlons (Spring Road Acocks Green) for a get together afterwards x
    For those of you who would like to attend, we are trying to make it as child friendly as possible, so if you have any bright coloured ties, scarves, shirts etc..A flash of colour would be lovely.. Please feel free to not wear black if you don’t want to x
    We will be celebrating his life x God love him x
    Much love to all of John’s friends and collegues xXx
    Rachel Enright

  3. A wonderful and accurate tribute to a top bloke. I met John at the Wednesday runs at Cannon Hill and went on to have some great ‘races’ at Parkrun. John was always there to have a laugh and joke with at the start, telling me about all his aches and pains from trying to keep up with the faster BvH during training the week before. Saying that, he would then proceed to run past me up the final hill with one of his usual sprint finishes! Just over 2 weeks ago he did a PB and thanked me for being his “target”, and just over a week ago he pushed me to a PB knowing he was chasing me down. My thoughts are with his family. John, you will be missed mate but never forgotten.

  4. John took the Wednesday rep session at Cannon Hill 3 weeks ago when Mary Ross couldn’t get there. That seemed typical of the man we’ve all lost – someone who would step up. I went for a drink with him at the mac after reps just 2 weeks ago. He spoke proudly about Rachel and his daughters, about BvH, his job, even about the merits of different ciders. I left thinking what a warm and genuine character he was and that I’d enjoy getting to know him over time. It wasn’t to be. What’s happened is unthinkably sad. All I can say is, John, I’m very glad I knew you.

  5. Dear all of you,
    Thank you so much for the wonderful tributes to John. He would be so chuffed that he was so well thought of. I can’t even put into words how we are feeling right now, as it is still a huge shock, and is only just starting to sink in.
    I would like to let you know that all of the lovely kind words, and messages of support are so gratefully received, and are so meaningful to us. Your words and Prayers will carry us.
    John absolutely loved being part of Bournville Harriers, and running with you all.
    He loved the Wednesday run and Cannon Hill park run too, which is where he met some of you first!.. His love was cross country and anything with a challenge. He used to talk about you all, and thought you were a great bunch of people .. I had the pleasure of meeting some of you too, and i was so pleased that he had a fab group of running mates x..
    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of John’s life and for the freedom and happiness it brought him ..
    The Flowers are a really nice gesture and are beautiful..
    On behalf of John, our families and friends and I..
    Thank you for happy memories and your overwhelming support x
    Much love to you all and God Bless you xXx
    Rachel.. Johns wife and best friend x

  6. What a lovely tribute. I didn’t run with John as he was a much faster runner than me but I would see him at the club, often the first to arrive and quite clearly looking forward to his run. Whenever we had newcomers, John was always very generous in offering to run with them. Witty, fun and kind, John was always full of enthusiasm. He will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

  7. John was a great character and a friend to all. I didn’t know him for long but I was always glad to see him at training and at social events. He always made me smile. He seemed the type of guy who really lived life, and that is an inspiration to us all at this sad time. My thoughts are with his family. x

  8. Well I only new John for a short time and the time I was around him it was fantastic.

    I joined the Wednesday training club at cannon hill and John always made me feel very welcome.

    John you will be sadly missed my mate.


  9. So tragic for such a great guy. John supported me a couple of weeks ago when I did my first club run after being out injured for three months. He refused to leave me when I was running as slow as a snail up Mary Vale Road. This was typical of John….encouraging, supportive and thinking of others before himself. He will be solely missed at BVH but his memory will live on. Our thoughts are with his family xxx

  10. I only met John a couple of times and true to the testament of this lovely tribute and comments, it was him who came to talk to me. He was passionate about running and certainly had the “craic”. My sincere condolences to his family, RIP John!

  11. A beautifully composed tribute to a lovely human being. He was friendly and welcoming every time I had the pleasure to bump into him. My heartfelt condolences to Rachel and his children. Shared a cab back with them both after the Christmas party. John would not let me pay a contribution. I still owe you John, RIP x

  12. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. John enriched our club and the lives of those of us fortunate enough to have him as a friend. We’ll miss you mate r.i.p. Xx

  13. Such a lovely tribute. John was such a lovely man. As mentioned above, he started to join us all running on a Sunday, very enthusiastic about running and just about everything . You will definitely be missed John. Our thoughts are with Rachel and girls. xx

  14. Lovely tribute to a lovely man who will be sadly very much missed. Must have been hard to write but well done Oliver and Suz for doing so and putting into words what so many others will remember about him.

  15. I had the pleasure of meeting John over the last few months and have run with him on Sunday mornings and at recent park runs, he was such a good man with a wonderful personality. He was funny and great company to be with. He will be missed and my thoughts are very much with his wife and children at this very sad time.

  16. Such a sad loss but this was written so beautifully! He was such a fab bloke and will be missed by everyone.

  17. Thankyou Oliver and Suz for writing a most fitting tribute to John Enright. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with his wife Rachel and family/friends at this sad time. I`ve just returned home from the Evening Service at my Church,which I happened to be leading, and prayers were offered and candles lit in memory of John.

  18. What a wonderful tribute – although no longer a BVH member, I got to know John through Parkrun where he regularly turned up to support, my last conversation with him was there a few weeks ago- he was rooting for Suz to get a PB and knew everything about her efforts to beat this down.
    I congratulated hm on his award – John was very humbled. Everyone who knew him knows he just did stuff because he wanted to. I’m so glad I met him – one of life’s treasures

  19. It’s hard to believe it’s actually happened John was a top bloke, he will be greatly missed R.I.P mate.

  20. An outstanding tribute to a fantastic guy.You will be sorely missed John! Rest in peace mate.

  21. You have summed him up perfectly. A sad loss. My thoughts are with his friends and family x

  22. Our little club has suffered a great loss! John was a real genuine guy so funny and kind. I remember racing a xc in coventry with him when I passed him I gave him my usual trick a good firm slap on the arse, he laughed so loud and shouted encouragement at me he made me smile. I watched him finish the race with a 100m sprint Usain Bolt would have been chuffed with, I was in awe wishing i could finish like John he took about six other runners in that finish showing he truly understood the competitiveness of xc no matter where you place in the race. He was happy to be Bournville. I feel privileged to have known him his personality touched us all.
    You will be missed but never forgotten x x

  23. In summary, a top notch bloke, always full of humour and enthusiasm. The first time I ran with John was on one of our off road Sunday runs, at mile two he’d lost both his shoes through a muddy gully and had to retrace his steps, at about 7 miles he was telling me and Julie why cold baths are harder for blokes.Since then I’ve had the pleasure of many runs and watching the intercounties with John as we ran with Dean between viewing spots. I also had the pleasure of meeting Rachel at the awards night, all our thoughts are with her and the girls XX

  24. I was so stunned when I heard the news. John was such a great member of the club, with endless enthusiasm and a real love for life. He was so friendly to everyone he met and he got on well with all of us at the club….. John marshaled a race for the club before he even joined! He was at the Peacock pub for our annual mile race and agreed to help out. He was so chatty to everyone and you could just tell right away that he was a really nice guy. He said he was going to join the club by the end of the night, and it was the club’s gain when he did! Our thoughts are with his family…….. John, you will be missed mate x