Olympic running legend Ron Hill dies at the age of 82 after dementia battle

Olympic running legend Ron Hill has died at the age of 82, it has been announced.

The British athlete was only the second man to break the two hour 10 minute marathon barrier.

Hill ran every day for over 52 years between 1963 and 2017 – to this day the longest such streak in history.

He broke world records at four different distances and represented Great Britain in the marathon at two Olympic Games – Tokyo 1964 and Munich 1972.

He founded the company Ron Hill Sports, focusing on running clothes and fabrics.

Born in Accrington, Lancashire, Hill – who graduated from the University of Manchester with a PhD in textile chemistry – also founded Hilly Clothing which specialised in socks.

In a post on Twitter, they wrote: “It is with immense sadness we today mourn the passing of British running legend Dr. Ron Hill M.B.E.’

He also won gold at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, as well as winning many of the world’s leading marathons.

He became the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, breaking the course record, and his final marathon was the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996.

His company’s shop in Hyde, Tameside, is still going strong today with its products manufactured at Redfern Industrial Estate in the town.

Accrington-born and raised Ron is also an honorary freeman of the borough of Hyndburn.

He had been living with dementia.

His death was announced on his company Twitter account @ronhill_uk today, who added: “Our founder, our inspiration, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a runner. We send our thoughts to May, Graham, Steve and all the family at this time.”

Ron ran at least one mile every single day for 52 years and 39 days before ending his streak aged 78.

He even ran after snapping his sternum in a car accident in 1993 and for six weeks in a plaster cast after an operation on his foot.

His winning time at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh made him only the second man to break 2:10 for the marathon, and he still ranks as the 12th fastest Briton of all time over the 26.2-mile distance, while his winning time in Boston of 2:10:30 took more than three minutes off the existing course record.

The Running Bee Foundation, based in Manchester, said: “It is with great sadness we today mourn the loss of one of the world’s iconic marathon runners and a British athletics legend Dr Ron Hill MBE.

“Our ambassador, Our Friend and Our Inspiration.

“Ron will always be at the heart of our foundation and we will miss him dearly.”