Lancashire

Calls for knighthood for running legend Ron Hill

Ron Hill at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ron Hill was appointed MBE in 1971

A campaign has begun to secure a knighthood for the legendary long-distance runner Ron Hill.

The athlete, 77, from Accrington, Lancashire, has held world records and European titles and was the first Briton to win the Boston Marathon.

The campaign has the backing of fellow long-distance runner Brendan Foster, according to spokesman Graham Richards.

Mr Richards said support was coming in from various backers and the campaign was "gathering momentum".

He said it was being led by fan Andrew O'Sullivan, who was himself appointed MBE for services to athletics and charity fundraising in 2013. Hill received the same honour in 1971.

'Not over-confident'

Mr Richards said: "We're sort of rolling it along, gaining a lot of nice letters and a lot of recommendations - a lot of people do know Ron and what he has achieved."

Former police officer Mr O'Sullivan said: "Dr Ron Hill is the greatest British distance runner of all time. He has achieved so much, not only as a world-class athlete, but as a very caring human being."

Hill won the Boston Marathon in 1970 and in the same year claimed a world best marathon time of 2:09:28 in Edinburgh in the Commonwealth Games.

Off the track he established Ron Hill Sports, pioneering use of synthetic fabrics in sportswear, and he has run every day since December 1964, clocking up more than 160,000 miles.

In 2012 Hill was given the Freedom of Accrington and two years later a street was name after him.

A friend of the runner told the BBC that Hill was delighted at the campaign but added he was "not over-confident that it will bring the 'sir' tag".

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