The news of Ron’s passing is a sad day for the brand and although we have been aware of his deteriorating health, it is still a day of sorrow that is hard to believe.
As a young runner myself, I revered him as a competitor. He was one of the first to inspire a generation of kids who wished for improvement and he demonstrated this through defiance and sheer passion towards something he loved dearly - never relenting.
He was a local hero and supported the amateur spirit within the sport, turning out regularly on the Manchester running scene to give his acolytes a close-up of what a true world class runner looked like, always sparing time to stop and talk running to anyone. He possessed a human touch that has positively affected me and many others within the running community.
I remember turning up for a Northern Track league 5km race in Warrington and Ron was running. It was hard to believe that I was running against such a world class runner. I manged to win the race and break 15 mins for 5km, for the first time, which was a big step forward for me in my running career. Ron was first to congratulate me after the race and even though I was 21 and Ron a little past this best, it was still a major achievement for me and how proud I was to tell people that I had beaten the great Ron Hill.
I have been amazed at the amount of calls and emails I have received from all over the world and the tributes on social media have been amazing and prove how much Ron was respected both as a world class runner and also a pioneer in the development and innovation of running apparel.
Having worked with Ron for nearly 40 years it has been a pleasure to be have been part of both the development of Ronhill and Hilly and we look forward to further developing both brands going forward to further honour him.
Everyone from the brands would like to pass on their sincere condolences to Ron’s wife, May and the Hill family.
Graham Richards, Ronhill and Hilly Brand Director