Legendary athlete Ron Hill will mark the 40th anniversary of his greatest triumph when he re-traces his steps by taking part in this month's Edinburgh Marathon (23 May).
The Lancastrian, whose name is synonymous with distance running, recorded a then world record time of 2:09:28, in becoming the first man ever to break the 2 min 10 sec barrier, when winning the Commonwealth Games title in the Scottish capital in 1970.
Now 72-years-old he will, on what is a similar course to that used for the Games, again be going for glory, running the anchor leg for his team in the Hairy Haggis Marathon Team Relay, one of the three events that comprise the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, along with the Scottish Half Marathon and the Edinburgh Marathon itself.
Race Director Neil Kilgour said, “We are delighted that Ron is joining us for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. His presence in the field will be inspirational to the other runners taking part with many keen to rub shoulders with a gold medallist who set world records.
He added, “Running the glory leg for the ‘Kilgour Killers’ in the ever popular relay event, I am sure returning to Edinburgh will bring back many special memories for Ron and he will be guaranteed a very warm welcome when he completes another grandstand finish at Musselburgh Race Course.”
Ann Anderson, Team Captain of the Kilgour Killers who are all members of Jog Scotland said, “We are all very excited to have such a famous runner in our team – we were really looking forward to the event anyway but news of Ron’s inclusion has made it all the more exciting. My daughter Jennifer is running the full marathon but she wishes she was in our relay team now as she is such a fan of Ron Hill. He is certainly a great role model for young runners.”
An extraordinary character Hill has not missed a day of running since December 1964, when he was becoming established as a world-class runner. Covering a minimum of a mile, run at any pace, Hill continues his streak today having kept it going even after breaking his sternum in a car crash in 1993 and also following bunion surgery, using a crutch to cover his daily mile in 27 minutes the next day.
He achieved his goal of racing in 100 countries before his 70th birthday with races in Panama and the Faroe Islands.
One of the great characters of any sport he is sure to cut a familiar figure when he returns to Edinburgh, particularly for older fans who witnessed his 1970 win.
While the sportswear companies that bear his name - Ron Hill Sports and Hilly Clothing - have pioneered many new styles and technological advancements, he intends to run the Hairy Haggis wearing the string vest he wore on that run to glory all those years ago.
Edinburgh Marathon website