By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) – Former British marathon great Ron Hill has been forced to end his amazing streak of running every day for more than 52 years after the 78-year-old suffered chest pains and decided not to risk it.
Hill, the former Commonwealth and European champion who was once the world’s top marathon man, felt ill during his daily run on Saturday and so on Sunday had to opt out for the first time after 19,032 consecutive days of running.
“After 400 meters my heart started to hurt and by the time I got to the one mile (1.6km) point I thought I was going to die,” he told local media on Tuesday.
“I was in such pain and I thought ‘no, hang on, this isn’t going anywhere at the moment’, and really in respect of my wife, two sons and friends I need to stop this.”
Hill, a triple Olympian and the first Briton to win the Boston Marathon, began the streak on Dec. 20 1964 and ran at least a mile every day for 52 years and 39 days. When he reached 50 years of running, his log added up to over 160,000 miles.
Hill won the Commonwealth Games gold in Edinburgh in 1970 in what was then a world record of two hours nine minutes, 28 seconds, a time most current elite British marathon runners can only dream about.
Hill, a textile chemist, was famed for running in a string vest, a garment he developed himself. He started a popular range of sportswear but sold the Ron Hill Sports company in 1991 after getting into financial difficulties.
(Editing by Ian Chadband)