Ron Hill, Boston record-setting marathoner, dies at 82
Posted On June 10, 2021
His success did not come quickly. His first major international competition was the 1962 European Athletics Championships marathon in Belgrade, then capital of Yugoslavia. He failed to finish. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, he finished 19th in the marathon and 18th in the 10,000 meters. But the following year, he broke the world records of 25,000 meters and 15 miles held by Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia.
Hill was not selected for the British marathon team for the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, but he competed in the 10,000-meter event, finishing seventh. That year he also set two 10-mile world records.
At the 1969 European Championships in Athens, Hill was tired in the final kilometers of the marathon, thinking he might at best win a silver medal, when he spotted the leader, Gaston Roelants of Belgium. With less than a mile remaining, Hill caught up to him.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he said later. “I was like, ‘Should I sit behind and try to get ahead of him or go straight through? I chose the latter and never looked back because I was afraid he would answer. “
Hill won by about 34 seconds.
Seven months later, he arrived in Boston as one of the favorites to win.
“Boston was considered the classic marathon then, and I dreamed of it,” Hill told the Globe in 1988. “I could barely afford to leave work and Boston didn’t pay the expenses. But I wanted to. to go, and friends have contributed to a fund to send me. “
He finished sixth in the 1972 Olympic marathon, won by American Frank Shorter.
In total, Hill competed in 115 marathons, the last in Boston in 1996 when he was 57. His time was 3:12:46.