Ron Hill seen after winning the Enschede Marathon in 1975. Photo: Bert Verhoeff/Anefo CC-BY-SA-3.0

Ron Hill seen after winning the Enschede Marathon in 1975. Photo: Bert Verhoeff/Anefo CC-BY-SA-3.0

The man whose name became synonymous with fellrunning gear has had to give up a record-breaking running streak.

Ron Hill had run every day for more than 52 years – until Sunday when heart problems forced him to end his daily regime.

The Olympic distance runner, who participated in the Tokyo, Mexico and Munich Games in the 1960s and 70s, had a doctorate in textile chemistry from Manchester University and in 1970 founded Ron Hill Sports.

The company produced the ubiquitous running tights, mesh vests, shorts and jackets that were a by-word for practical hill- and road-running gear for decades. He sold the company in the 1990s and it continues as the Ron Hill brand under the ownership of Hyde-based Outdoor and Sports Company, whose brands also include Mountain Equipment and Sprayway.

Dr Hill’s running streak of 19,032 consecutive days, during which he managed at least a mile on the hoof, began on 21 December 1964 and is the longest recorded streak in the world.

He told Streak Runners International: “It is great sadness that I have to report the end of my streak.

“I have been having heart problems and have been waiting for some time now to have the problem diagnosed and hopefully rectified. One-mile runs have not helped and on Saturday 28 January I ran my last one mile.

“After less than 400m my heart started to hurt and over the last 800 metres the problem got worse and worse. I thought I might I die but just made it to one mile in 16 minutes and 34 seconds.

“There was no other option but to stop. I owed that to my wife family and friends plus myself.”

The athlete’s streak represents 52 years and 39 days when he ran at least a mile.

Ron Hill taking part in the Hyde seven-mile run in 2016. Photo: Gerald England CC-BY-SA-2.0

Ron Hill taking part in the Hyde seven-mile run in 2016. Photo: Gerald England CC-BY-SA-2.0

In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics of 1964 he was 18th in the 10,000m and 19th in the marathon. In Mexico City four years later he came seventh in the 10,000m with an identical time to his Tokyo finish. In Munich in 1972, he was placed sixth in the marathon in a time of 2:16:30 at the age of 33.

He held records for his times at several distances: 10 miles, 15 miles, 25km and the marathon.

Ron Hill also won gold medals for the marathon at the European Championships in Athens, in 1969 and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 1970. The runner completed 115 marathons.

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