Running great Ron subject of new documentary about his life

GEE Cross running legend Dr Ron Hill is the subject of a new documentary – The Runners’ Runner.

The 55-minute film premiered at Hyde Town Hall on Thursday, May 9 and plans are underway to give it wider distribution later in the year.

The film has been commissioned by Sports Tours International and events executive Stephen Owen told the Correspondent: “It’s a look back at Ron’s life and running career.

“Ron looks back on his career, his running challenge and also the personal side of his story.”

Ron, who launched the original Tour of Tameside multi terrain race in the 1980s, achieved considerable success as a runner and a businessman.

Nearly 50 years ago, he established a new world marathon record. His time of two hours, nine minutes 28 seconds to win the 1970 Commonwealth Games marathon has been considerably lowered to a point where Kenyan’s Eliud Kipchoge will attempt to break the magical two hours barrier later this year.

However, with the exception of Sir Mo Farah, British athletes have laboured to match the Gee Cross doctor’s time.

Only Farah and fellow Brit Callum Hawkins – with a lifetime best – ran faster times at last month’s London Marathon.

Hill, now 80, remains 12th on the British all-time list for the 26.2 miles distance.

Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever distance runners, Ron won the European Championship marathon title in 1969, the Commonwealth crown a year later and also crossed the line first at the prestigious Boston marathon.

He established world and British records on the track, was twice National cross country champion and once won the UK Inter Counties cross country running barefoot.

Ron was also ahead of his time away from races. He worked at Courtaulds in Droylsden and usied his PhD in textile chemistry, to produce breathable, mesh vests to keep cool.

He later created the Ronhill and Hilly clothing brands.

In 2018, the three time Olympian was diagnosed with dementia. He said at the time: “Dementia is the biggest challenge of my life but it isn’t the end of the road by any stretch of the imagination.

‘I can’t be ashamed of it because I haven’t done anything to deserve it. No one does.

“It’s there and I can’t rub it better or run it off like a minor niggle – or get better with rest or physiotherapy like I would with a running injury.

“I don’t wake up feeling sad or anything like that. I sleep like a baby.

“I’ll cheerfully carry on keeping active and, hopefully, this will give other people the impression that dementia is nothing to be frightened by and that there shouldn’t be any stigma attached to it.”

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