Ron Hill

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For the rugby league footballer of the 1960s and '70s for Wales, and Salford, see Ronald Hill.
Ron Hill
Ron Hill 1975.jpg
Ron Hill at the Enschede Marathon in 1975
Personal information
Born 25 September 1938
Accrington, Lancashire, UK
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 61 kg (134 lb)
Sport
Sport Long-distance running
Club Bolton Harriers, Bolton
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals 1964, 1968, 1972

Ronald (Ron) Hill MBE (born 25 September 1938) is an English former runner and clothing entrepreneur. He was the second man to break 2:10 in the marathon; he set world records at four other distances, but never laid claim to the marathon world record.[nb 1] He has run two Olympic Marathons (Tokyo 1964 and Munich 1972), and has a personal marathon record of 2:09:28.[3] In 1970, Hill won the 74th Boston Marathon in a course record 2:10:30. He also won gold medals for the marathon at the European Championships in 1969 and the Commonwealth Games in 1970.

Running career[edit]

Hill held world records for 10 miles (16 km) (47:02, Leicester, April 1968; 46:44, Leicester, November 1968); 15 miles (24 km) (72:48.2, Bolton, July 1965); and 25 kilometres (16 mi) (75:22.6, Bolton, July 1965).

In 1963, Hill won the 6-mile (9.7 km) event at the British Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) championships in a time of 27:49.8, equalling the UK record. In the following year's AAA six mile (10 km) race, Hill was outsprinted by Mike Bullivant, who won by less than half a second; both runners, however, finished more than twenty seconds under the UK record. At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Hill placed 18th in the 10000 metres, in a time of 29:53.0, and 19th in the marathon, in 2:25:34.4.[3]

In 1964, Hill set his first world record, clocking 1:15:22.6 for 25 kilometres (16 mi), eclipsing Emil Zátopek's previous mark by more than 1 minute; he also set another world record of 1:12:48.2 for 15 miles (24 km) along the way.

Hill was the first winner of the Freckleton Half Marathon in 1964 and still holds the course record of 1 hour 4 minutes.

In 1966, Hill competed in the European Championships Marathon, finishing twelfth.

On 6 April 1968, in the British AAA 10-mile (16 km) championship at Leicester, Hill set a new world record of 47:02.2; he won the AAA 10-mile (16 km) every year between 1965 and 1969. Later in 1968, he again lowered the world 10-mile (16 km) world record, to 46:44.0. In the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, he placed seventh in the 10000 m.[3]

In 1969, Hill won the European Championships Marathon on the Marathon-to-Athens course.

In 1970, Hill became the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, by a wide margin, shattering the course record by three minutes with a time of 2:10:30. In July, at the British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, he became the second man ever to break the 2:10 barrier, clocking a world record time of 2:09:28. Hill was timed in 29:24 for the first 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) at Edinburgh, the equivalent of a 2:04 marathon pace, described as "suicidal".[4] He arrived at the Fukuoka Marathon as a clear favourite, but placed only ninth.[5]

Hill was ranked as the top marathoner of the year for 1970 by Track & Field News, on the strength of his two important wins – the Boston and British Commonwealth Games marathons. The next year, Hill was honoured with the Order of the British Empire for "services to athletics". His final Olympic games was at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he finished sixth in the marathon at the age of 33.[3]

Streak[edit]

As of late 2013, Hill has not missed a day of running since December 1964, dating back to the start of his elite racing career. Hill defines a "run" as completing a distance of at least one mile at any pace.[6] His streak includes workouts after a car crash in 1993 when Hill broke his sternum, and after bunion surgery, after which he used a crutch to cover one mile (1.6 km) in 27 minutes the next day. In December 2013, his streak entered its 50th year; his total logged lifetime mileage was at 158,628.[7] At the end of April 2014 it stood at 159,106.5.[8]

Achievements[edit]

  • All results regarding marathon, unless stated otherwise
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  United Kingdom
1970 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st 2:10:30
1973 Enschede Marathon Enschede, Netherlands 1st 2:18:06
1975 Enschede Marathon Enschede, Netherlands 1st 2:15:59

Later life[edit]

Ronhill.svg

After graduating from university with a PhD in textile chemistry Hill was convinced of the benefits of synthetic materials for runners. In 1970 he started a company named Ron Hill Sports, which pioneered various products including wrap-over shorts, mesh vests, waterproof running jackets and reflective strips. Hill says he founded the company "because I was running to and from work in the dark in winter and wondered what I needed to stay safe." Company sales at one point exceeded £6 million, but Hill sold out due to financial difficulties in the early 1990s. He has since started Hilly Clothing specialising in technical socks and other apparel.[9]

Hill achieved his goal of racing in 100 countries before his 70th birthday with races in Panama and the Faroe Islands. His final marathon was the 100th Boston Marathon, in 1996. He completed 115 marathons, 112 under 2:50, 103 under 2:45 and 29 under 2:20.

Hill was president of the Road Runners Club from 1987–1988.

Publications[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In an interview with Amby Burfoot of Runner's World, Hill commented: "I won the Commonwealth Championships in Edinburgh in 2:09:28, which I claim was a world record because the attempts to remeasure Derek Clayton's course in Antwerp [Clayton ran 2:08:34 at Antwerp in 1969] were never successfully carried out."[1] Some road racing authorities, including the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, consider Clayton's performance to have occurred on a short course and recognise Hill in the progression for world best in the marathon.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Brief Chat with Ron Hill, 28 September 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  2. ^ Association of Road Racing Statisticians, World Best Progressions- Road. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Ron Hill. sports-reference.com
  4. ^ Ron Hill. time-to-run.com. 31 December 2006.
  5. ^ K. Ken Nakamura. A history of the Fukuoka International Marathon Championships. iaaf.org
  6. ^ Ron Hill at the Wayback Machine (archived August 21, 2006). Runners World. August 2004
  7. ^ "49 years on the Run!". ronhill.com. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "April 2014 Blog". ronhill.com. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  9. ^ * Website of Hilly Clothing. hillyclothing.co.uk

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Northern Ireland Derek Graham
Men's Half Marathon Best Year Performance
1971
Succeeded by
Colombia Victor Manual Mora