Star athlete who helped put Accrington on the map has street named after him as part of housing regeneration scheme
Ron Hill Way
Legendary runner Ron Hill returned home to Accrington to officially unveil a street named in his honour.
Former Olympian Ron Hill, who was the second man in the world to break the 2 hour 10 minute barrier in the marathon, said it was an “unbelievable gesture” to have a street in Accrington named after him.
Ron Hill, who won gold medals for England in the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain in the European Championships was born in Accrington in 1938.
Ron Hill Way has been built as part of a £55m partnership between Keepmoat and Hyndburn Borough Council which will breathe new life into west Accrington with the construction of 500 high-quality new homes.
Ron Hill Way, off Blackburn Road, is part of phase two of the flagship Acorn Park housing renewal scheme.
Ron, who founded his own brand of sports clothing, is now in his 50th year of a running streak having run at least a mile a day, without missing a single day, since December 1964.
Now 75, Ron has clocked more than 159,000 miles since he began his training logs in 1956 while studying at Accrington Grammar School – the equivalent of jogging six times around the world.
Ron’s running streak even continued despite being involved in a head-on car crash in 1993. The serious accident on the Woodhead Pass in Derbyshire left him with a broken sternum and a damaged heart. Luckily he had already run that morning. Determined to keep his record going, he defied doctor’s orders and the next day sneaked out to run a mile.
Ron Hill, a Guinness World Record holder for the greatest daily mileage run, said: “It’s an unbelievable gesture to have a street named after you. I’m very proud to be part of this regeneration scheme for west Accrington as I was born only 400 metres away from this street.
“When I was young I was inspired by a comic book character called Alf Tupper, a working class underdog who used to appear in The Rover and The Victor comics. I never imagined I’d have any success myself, I just loved to run.
“I have no intention of stopping running at all. I just hope I can inspire people of all ages to take up running or to continue running as long as they can.”
James Gallagher, Head of Technical at Keepmoat, said: “We believe Ron Hill Way will play a big part in regenerating West Accrington with affordable, high-quality housing.
“Over many decades Ron Hill has helped to put Accrington on the map, so it’s only right that Accrington puts Ron on the map in return!”
So far Keepmoat has constructed 134 high-quality new homes as part of Acorn Park and was granted planning permission for a further 103 homes in January this year, with construction work anticipated to start soon.
On the latest phase of homes being built, six of the properties are affordable homes managed by Great Places Housing Group. A further 20 homes in the forthcoming phase of the project will also be managed by Great Places, reinforcing the commitment of Keepmoat and the council to mixed communities.
Cllr Clare Pritchard, Cabinet Member for Housing and Deputy Leader of Hyndburn Council, said: “During his running career Ron Hill spread the name of Accrington all around the world so we believe it is only fitting to now name a street in Ron’s honour.
“As a sportsman and businessman Ron Hill has been like a breath of fresh air to both industries so it is only right that Ron Hill’s name is used to mark a scheme that will breathe new life into Accrington.”
Ian Fletcher, Head of Land and Partnerships for Keepmoat in the North West, said: “When Hyndburn Borough Council approached us with the idea of naming a street after Ron Hill we were happy to work with them to make sure it happened.
“More than anyone else Ron Hill embodies the never say die spirit of Accrington.”