Organisers of the 2017 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, which took place on Sunday 2nd April, have confirmed that Manchester running legend Dr Ron Hill MBE was awarded with a special Lifetime Achievement Award on race day.
The award was presented to Ron Hill by Race Director Simon Hill, who has been working closely with Ron since bringing the marathon back to the streets of Manchester in 2012. Five years on, the race has this year celebrated its 41st anniversary and is much loved the world over for being the UK’s flattest, fastest and friendliest marathon.
Ron has been an ambassador and an avid supporter of the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon ever since the race returned, as well as being the official starter – and running some miles of the race – most years.
In thanks for his dedication to the race over the last six years, and to honour his incredible achievements in running over more than five decades, Ron was given a painting that was specially commissioned by Elizabeth Leck, a local Stockport artist. The painting shows Ron running towards the finish line at his iconic Boston marathon win in 1970, which he became the first Briton to win whilst smashing the course record with a time of 2:10:30.
After Boston, Ron went on to become only the second man to break the 2:10 barrier, clocking a world record time of 2:09:28 at the British Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.
The 78-year-old athlete, who only retired from running this year, was at the start line of the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon earlier this month to set runners on their way at the most successful edition of the event yet. It was a day of thrilling sporting achievement, first class entertainment and superb crowd support, with an extraordinary number of runners achieving a personal best thanks to the flat and fast course.
Dr Ron Hill MBE also did an exclusive book signing of the book he co-wrote with Neil Shuttleworth called “Manchester Marathons 1908 – 2002” at the central operations race collection point at First Street on Saturday 1st April. Ron was seen chatting to and motivating hundreds of runners ahead of race day whilst posing for photos with runners who had come to collect their race number.
Dr Ron Hill MBE commented, “I was overwhelmed to be awarded with a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon. It has been an absolute pleasure to support the race in my hometown and I am delighted to see it grow year on year. Mass participation running events are a great way for the running community to get together and celebrate the sport they love, and I have many fond memories of gathering at the start line, hearing people cheering and looking forward to the race ahead. Manchester provides all this and more, and you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere or for a more exciting course. Many thanks to Simon and his team for this award which I will treasure.”
Race Director Simon Hill added, “I was thrilled to present Ron Hill with his award after working with him for the last six years to bring the marathon back to Manchester. The painting seemed a perfect gift as what he achieved in Boston back in 1970 was as phenomenal back then as it is now. He is a true inspiration to runners of all ages and it has been a privilege to have such an iconic athlete represent the race.”
The date for the 2018 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon will be announced soon. Runners can however pre-register for the 2018 race and secure a place at the early bird entry fee of £50.
Places for this multi-award-winning race, which has just been awarded the UK’s Best Marathon title at the 2017 Running Awards, are selling fast. Go to www.greatermanchestermarathon.com to pre-register for the 2018 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon and to guarantee your place on the start line of the UK’s Best Marathon next spring.
The Manchester Half Marathon is also organised by Xtra Mile Events and takes place at the same venue on Sunday 15th October 2017. Entries are open; please go to www.manchesterhalfmarathon.com for further details and to sign up.