SOLDIER Peter Armour was superfit even by SAS standards - and he died training to stay that way.

An inquest heard how the 26-year-old signals specialist with the regiment was struck down by heatstroke during a distance run in Oman and suffered fatal organ failure nine days later.

An inquiry by the SAS found that Corporal Armour, of Herefordshire, had been fully briefed on the dangers of hot climate training before being sent to Oman.

The inquest at Hereford Town Hall was told that a bout of diarrhoea the day before the run might have been the difference between life and death.

Doctors said, in evidence, that the diarrhoea could have have left Cpl Armour - who had represented Scotland at rugby and took a great pride in his personal fitness - dehydrated, increasing the risk of heatstroke.

County coroner David Halpern ruled that Cpl Armour's death in May last year was accidental. The diarrhoea may have tipped the balance, he said.

Hidden behind a screen, Sergeant A told the inquest how he and Cpl Armour had spent about an hour working out in an air conditioned gym before going on a distance run later in the day, when it was not so hot. But the temperature still topped 40 degrees as they set off along a beachfront in personal training kit.

The run was going to take 50 minutes, building on 30 and 40 minute runs the two had taken on previous days. But the day before Cpl Armour had not trained at all because of the diarrhoea.

Sgt A said Cpl Armour seemed fine throughout the run. Both men slowed down on the return route because they felt themselves tiring and moved off the sand on to the sidewalk.

A little later Cpl Armour said he wanted to slow the pace down again and seemed "disorientated". Sgt A sat him down and ran back to their vehicle. When he returned his colleague had collapsed.

After initial first aid, Cpl Armour was rushed to hospital, where he died from organ failure nine days later.

Medical evidence to the inquest said how the impending organ failure would not have been obvious to doctors treating the critically ill Cpl Armour. His symptoms were similar to several diseases including meningitis, so they treated him to cover every possibility.

The inquest heard how the death of Cpl Armour shocked the regiment. Sgt A said in evidence that he still "couldn't make sense" of what had happened.

l Cpl Armour, from Glasgow, served with 264 SAS Signals Squadron. He leaves a wife Hayley and a daughter.

After his death, Mrs Armour posted this internet tribute to her husband: "We are left empty by the sudden loss of Pete from our lives. He was a popular soldier, loving husband, and dedicated father. Passionate about the army, he embraced every opportunity and challenge that came his way, whether in work or playing rugby. His memory will live with us forever."