Former British marathon runner Ron Hill has died at the age of 82.

The 1969 European Athletics Championships marathon gold-medal winner was the second man to break the two hours and 10 minutes barrier in the discipline.

The distance runner claimed marathon gold at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and also won the 74th Boston Marathon.

He competed at the 1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich Olympics.

Hill also laid claim to the longest unbroken streak of running every day, that lasted 52 years and 39 days, from 1964 to 2017.

Ron was made a Freeman of the Borough of Hyndburn in 2012 and will be fondly and proudly known as an Accrington-born legend.

Hill’s clothing company Ronhill confirmed his death in a social media statement.

“It is with immense sadness we today mourn the passing of British running legend Dr Ron Hill MBE, our founder, our inspiration, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a runner.

“We send our thoughts to May, Graham, Steve and all the family at this time."

Leader of Hyndburn Council, Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE: “It is with great sadness we learn of the death of Ron Hill. Born in Accrington and a true sporting hero, Ron’s achievements are an inspiration to people throughout the world.

“Ron was awarded the highest honour from our community, Freedom of the Borough. He brought a smile to everyone who was lucky enough to meet him and was a wonderful ambassador for our Borough.

“On behalf of Hyndburn I offer our thoughts and condolences to Ron’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Messenger Newspapers:

Ready to take part in the Ron Hill Accrington 10k (Pictures LT Archive)

Messenger Newspapers:

In 2014 a 10k race in Hyndburn was named in his honour - the Ron Hill Accrington 10k.

At the time aged 75 he said: “A lot of people when I go to races – and I’m getting near the back nowadays – seem to get a hell of a kick out of saying, ‘I’m going home now, I’ve beat Ron Hill’.

“It doesn’t bother me, I think it’s an honour for people to say that.”

Ron Hill was born in Dale Street, just 400 metres from the street which is named after him. Ron Hill Way was opened in 2014 as part of the £55million regeneration scheme off Blackburn Road.

Messenger Newspapers:

May Hill was surprised to discovered she has had a road in Accrington named after her just streets along from her husband’s ‘Ron Hill Way’ (Pictures LT Archive)

Two years later his wife May Hill discovered she had a road in Accrington named after her just streets along from her husband’s road namesake.

The plan to name a street after his wife also came a surprise to Ron when he first found out, and he had to keep the news a secret before the unveiling.

The couple met in the old Joe Mortimer’s dance hall in Blackburn Road, just a short walk from where the two have streets named after them.

Ron Hill life story - interviewed in 2008

Winning on the streets of Boston was a mighty achievement for a man once so timid that he did all his training in the back streets of East Lancashire.

Speaking in 2008 he said: “I had a happy childhood”.

“I joined Clayton-le-Moors Harriers when I was 13 years old because I was interested in running, inspired by this comic character called Alf Tupper.

“But I was shy and ran up all the back streets up to Bullough Park and out on to the moors, on to the Haslingden Old Road and back again.

“I once went to a reunion at Accrington Grammar School and this guy said he couldn’t get over how poor I was. I didn’t realise people had noticed we were poor.

“But the toilet was in the back yard and we had a two up, two down. My mother went out to work to keep a family of three of us together and my dad worked on the railway.

“I never thought I’d get anywhere because my early results were nothing significant. I just wanted to go out and run.

“I used to get very nervous. I couldn’t sleep the night before a race and I’d be scared to death. I’d run the race and be absolutely knackered, but the next day I’d say, ‘When’s the next race?’.”

Hill’s phenomenal mental strength - symbolised by his record of running on 16,000 consecutive days.