Around five minutes into Sports Tours International’s recently launched documentary, the Ron Hill The Runner’s Runner, Dr. Ron reflects on his victory at Boston Marathon: “How much money did I get? The answer was none: I got a bowl of beef stew and a laurel wreath, which I couldn’t bring back to the UK because of plant restrictions.”
This excerpt is indicative of how modest and funny Ron appears in the film, and, more generally, how running was a completely different sport when Ron was at the peak of his powers. Throughout the documentary, Ron talks about everything from his childhood, to university, meeting his wife, and how he came to find his passion for the sport.
Among his many medals, records and accomplishments Lancashire-born Ron, who turned 80 in September 2018, is known for not missing a single day of running for 52 years and 39 days. His incredible streak included a car crash in 1993 when he broke his sternum, and bunion surgery.
During his career Ron ran in two Olympic Marathons (Tokyo 1964 and Munich 1972), and has a personal marathon record of 2:09:28. In 1970 he became the first British runner to win at Boston Marathon, and by a wide margin, shattering the course record by three minutes with a time of 2:10:30. The film features archive footage from some of his greatest achievements including the Olympics and a few early races at the start of his running career.
In addition to his running achievements, Ron, who has a PhD in textile chemistry, pioneered fabric products for sport including wrap-over shorts, mesh vests, and waterproof running jackets and reflective strips.
Chris Bird, Sports Tours International chief executive said: “This film celebrates an amazing man who has had a significant influence on the world of running. As a 17-year-old I was inspired by Ron to put on my trainers and start running.
“As I got older I was fortunate enough to work with Ron via my PR business, and I saw first hand the creativity, passion and forward thinking that enabled Ron to change the whole running apparel world forever. With all of his athletic and business achievements I am surprised that this film hasn’t been made sooner. I am very proud of our film and also my friend Dr Ron Hill MBE.”