Marathon runner Ron Hill, who broke several world records during a career spanning 10 years, from 1962 to 1972, died on Sunday. He was 82.
Hill, who was also the first British distance runner to breach 2 hour and 10 minute-barrier in a marathon, smashed former Olympic champion Emil Zatopek’s long-standing world records clocking 1:15:22.6 in 25,000m and 1:12:48.2 in 15 miles.
“Ron Hill turned the art of marathon running into a science and wrote the playbook for generations to come. He was a one-off. His contribution to the classic distance is immense,” said Sebastian Coe, World Athletics president, in his tribute to Hill.
Hill made his debut at international level in 1962 but won European marathon title in Athens in 1969.
In 1970, he became the first British runner to win Boston Marathon, smashing the course record by three minutes with 2 hours, 10 minutes and 30 seconds. Later that year, he won Edinburgh Commonwealth Games marathon gold in a European record of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 28 seconds.
He also claimed to have started his streak of consecutive daily runs of at least one mile at any given pace from December 20, 1964 but ended it on January 30, 2017 when he experienced chest pains during a run.
In 1993, despite a broken sternum suffered in a car crash, Hill still managed to run.
“Hill was ahead of his time with regard to training. He was one of the first elite athletes to use the Saltin-Hermansson diet – better known as the glycogen depletion diet or ‘carb-loading’ — which he credited as playing a big part in his success at the 1969 European Championships,” World Athletics said in its release.
In his final Olympic appearance in 1972, Hill finished sixth in marathon — his highest ever finish at the Games.
He is survived by wife and two sons.