Marathon legend to be honoured?

GEE Cross marathon running legend Ron Hill is being recommended to become an honorary freeman of the borough, the highest award Tameside Council can bestow on a resident.

The suggestion from Hyde councillor Jim Fitzpatrick has been endorsed by Tameside’s Labour Group, which wants to recognise what Ron has done for the borough.

Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “It would be well deserved for everything Ron has done in athletics and also to promote the borough.

“He was a former world record holder for the marathon and won the one in Boston bare foot which was staggering.”

The award of the honorary freedom of the borough does not convey with it any legal rights or responsibilities, other than a ceremonial role at civic functions.

The award dates back to the middle ages when freemen had commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city.

Ashton-born Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick for England in the 1966 World Cup final, was the last person to become an honorary freeman in July 2017.

Sir Geoff is one of only nine individuals to become a freeman since Tameside became a borough in 1974. Others include former MP’s Robert Sheldon and Tom Pendry.

Ron has also become a star of the silver screen.

The 80-year-old has been the subject of a film charting his extraordinary exploits which has included running in more than 100 countries.

And the 55-minute film ‘Ron Hill: The Runner’s Runner’ had a premiere at Hyde Town Hall in front of invited guests including athletes, councillors and other dignitaries.

It was a night of nostalgia as following the screening guests were interviewed as they shared their memories of Ron who won gold at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in a world record time of two hours nine minutes and 28 seconds, which remains 12th on the British all-tine list.

The film was commissioned by Sports Tours International, organisers of the Tour of Tameside, the original version of which was devised by Ron in the early 1980s.

That week-long event attracted runners from throughout the world and it became a big event in the running calendar.

It ceased in the early 2000s due to logistical issues but revived by Sports Tour International and this year’s fifth staging of the four-day event in from June 13-16.

It began with the Cross Trail 10k on Thursday, June 13 and was followed on consecutive days by the Hell on the Fell, Hero Half Marathon and Dr Ron Hyde 7 Mile.

Proceeds from the Tour will be donated to the Running Bee Foundation, an initiative created in December 2018 to honour the memory of community figure Mo Done to benefit community projects.

One Reply to “Marathon legend to be honoured?”

  1. Dr Ron Hill should be knighted for all the marathon runners & runners in general he’s inspired over the years, a ver intelligent man with a very big heart ..All the clothing he’s created & supplied over many years to help runners of all abilities keep dry -running gear to help keep us comfortable – the man is a friend and Awesome x

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