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Ron Hill (1938-2021): winner of the third Bermuda International Marathon

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Running in Bermuda: Ron Hill, right, who won the Bermuda International Marathon in 1978, enjoys a training run alongside Bermuda’s Ray Swan, who was fourth, and Greece marathon champion Kerk Lazardies, who was runner-up (File photograph)
Into the wind: Ron Hill, left, on the shoulder of race leader Kirkiados Lazardies as they near Flatts Village on Harrington Sound Road with about five miles still to run in the 1978 Bermuda International Marathon. Hill, who won the race, has died at 82 (File photograph)

One of the earliest winners of the Bermuda International Marathon has died.

Ron Hill was 82.

The outstanding athlete won the Boston Marathon and Commonwealth Games marathon in 1970, was a European Championships marathon winner, and competed in the 1964 and 1972 Olympic Games.

In January 1978, the Englishman came to Bermuda to run the marathon, an event now part of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge.

It was only the third time the marathon had been held. Hill won in 2hr 26min 13sec, which was 24 seconds ahead of Greek champion Kiriakos “Kerk” Lazardies.

Bermudian marathon great Ray Swan took fourth place and went on to compete in the Commonwealth Games marathon that year.

Hill enjoyed his one and only stay on the island and spoke warmly of his reception in an interview with The Royal Gazette in 2010.

He said he and his wife, May, were treated “royally” at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, which had only opened four years earlier.

The couple toured the island on a moped rented out for them by the late Peter Lever, and they spent a day out on the water exploring the Hamilton Harbour islands in a boat with leading Bermuda athletes Jim and Debbie Butterfield.

The Hills also spent time at the King Henry VIII Pub and Restaurant in Southampton, where they would have been entertained by the legendary Jimmy Keys.

Hill was famed for running every day for 52 years until 2017, when he was in his late seventies.

He launched a well-known sports clothing company Ron Hill Sports, using expertise gained from his doctorate in textile chemistry, which later became Ronhill, and also founded Hilly Clothing.


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Published May 25, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated May 25, 2021 at 7:36 am)

Ron Hill (1938-2021): winner of the third Bermuda International Marathon

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