Lancashire

Olympian Ron Hill ends 52-year running streak

Ron Hill at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ron Hill was appointed MBE in 1971

A former Olympian has taken a day of rest to end a 52-year running streak of at least one mile every single day.

Ron Hill, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Munich in 1972, has put on his running shoes every day since 20 December 1964 - a total of 52 years and 39 days.

The 78-year-old won marathon gold medals at the European Championships in 1969 and the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

He said he felt a pain in his chest while out running.

"After 400m my heart started to hurt and by the time I got to the one mile (1.6km) point I thought I was going to die," he added.

"I was in such pain and I thought 'no, hang on, this isn't going anywhere at the moment', and really in respect of my wife, two sons and friends I need to stop this."

Image caption Ron Hill finishes Manchester's 5km Heaton Park parkrun in December 2014

The Facebook page for his clothing brand said he "decided to take a day off" due to illness.

Paying tribute to his achievements on the social media page, David Hope said: "An amazing achievement and an amazing and lovely fella. Well done, Ron."

Julie O'Brien wrote: "We're wishing you a speedy recovery Ron, you're a total legend and inspire many many people."

Born in Accrington, Dr Ron Hill MBE was the first Briton to win the Boston Marathon in 1970.

In the same year, he claimed a marathon time of two hours nine minutes 28 seconds in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

Image caption A street in Accrington - Ron Hill Way - was named after him in 2014

Off the track he established Ron Hill Sports, pioneering use of synthetic fabrics in sportswear, and was given the Freedom of Accrington in 2012.

A street in the town - Ron Hill Way - was named after him two years later.

When he reached 50 years of running, the distance recorded in his log book added up to 160,000 miles - the equivalent of running around the world more than six times.


Ron Hill

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Won the English Cross Country Championships in 1966
  • Represented Great Britain in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo and 1972 Munich Olympics (pictured), though medals eluded him
  • Became the first Briton to win the Boston Marathon in 1970 with a time of 2hrs 10mins 30secs
  • Won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in the same year, recording a time of 2hrs 9mins 28secs
  • Was the first person to use synthetic fabrics in sportswear following a career as a textile chemist, leading him to set up Ron Hill Sports in September 1970
  • Has run every day since 20 December 1964 - even with a snapped sternum following a car crash in 1993 and for six weeks in a plaster cast after an operation on his foot

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