Morpeth Harriers are sad to hear of the passing of Ron Hill MBE, who has died at the age of 82.
A former European and Commonwealth Marathon champion as well as being the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, the Accrington-born athlete and proud Lancastrian also held at one time world records over 10 miles, 15 miles and 25 kilometres and competed in two Olympic Games.
Among his most memorable achievements was his time of 2 hours 9 minutes and 28 seconds set in Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Games in 1970, a race in which our own Jim Alder finished in 2nd place. Such was Hill’s performance that day that he went through 10k in 29:24 and was fully 8 minutes ahead of the world record at half way. He was the 2nd ever runner to break 2:10 for the distance and even today his time from over 50 years ago puts him in 12th place in the British all time performances.
Hill was also renowned for having run every single day for an astonishing total of 52 years and 39 days – till he was 78, in fact.
Holding a degree in textile chemistry, Hill would go on to found the sportswear company that still carries his name and whose logo is seen at races nationally.
His exploits are memorably captured in the two volumes of his autobiography The Long Hard Road, which meticulously record every race run and his mileage.
A team mate, room mate and often a fellow competitor, Jim Alder spoke generously and movingly of his great rival and friend: "He was a fabulous runner, and on his day, nobody could beat him – when he clicked, Bang! If he was fully right, he won. Although I raced him many times and sometimes beat him, he was the undisputed king of distance running in the 1960s."