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Former Tipton Harriers world record holder dies

By Jordan Reynolds | Tipton | Athletics | Published:

A former world record holder and president at Tipton Harriers has died.

Ron Bentley, from Gornal, set a world record in November 1973 for a 24-hour race notching up 161 miles 545 yards.

Mr Bentley, 88, became a member of the club in 1951 and continued until the day he died, becoming a life member in 1972.

Chris Holloway, member and club historian for Tipton Harriers, said: "He was born in the heart of the Black Country. Proud of his Gornal roots he helped put Tipton Harriers on the map again in the late 60s and early 70s following the earlier exploits of another Tipton Harrier Jack Holden during the period 1930 to 1950."

The late Ron Bentley

Mr Bentley worked in the metals industry for most of his life, and worked his way up from employee to owner of his own company.

He had two children with his wife Eva, called Jane and Ron, and was a "proud father" according to the club.

Mr Holloway added: "He and Eva, his wife, enjoyed danced, he baked, and he enjoyed films. He played table tennis to a high standard. He loved his wife, his family, friends and athletics."

Mr Bentley became known around the world after dedicating 60 years to the club and the sport. Throughout the years he was an athlete for the club, as well as a volunteer, officer and president.

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Ron Bentley in action

Mr Holloway said: "Ron’s life spanned many generations of athletes and athletics. Athletes were his friends, inspirations, mentors and provided an extended family. He learned from those that had gone before absorbed their strengths and understood their weaknesses and set standards for those that followed after. He forged himself into being one of the clubs greats.

"Ron was known around the country and around the world. His name and that of Tipton Harriers were inseparable. From the UK to South Africa, the USA and Scandinavia, from Brighton to Rosyth, from Exeter to the Isle of Man Ron carried the colours and hopes of the Harriers. A true ambassador.

"He provided an important focal point for hundreds of runners not just from Tipton Harriers but from Dudley Harriers, Halesowen AC, Oldbury AC, Wolverhampton Harriers, Bilston AC and West Bromwich Harriers to name but a few. Many eventually joined Tipton Harriers at some point in their careers.

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"For more than 60 years he dedicated himself to the club and our sport. He served the club as an athlete, volunteer, officer and President. For many generations he became simply the heartbeat of the club."

Ron Bentley with team mates

Mr Bentley also helped to raise thousands of pounds to establish the sport in the Tipton area and promoted events for the club and other organisations.

Mr Holloway added: "He won medals at county, area and national levels over road and cross country. His personal crowning glory was in November 1973 when he set a world record for the 24 hour race notching up 161 miles 545 yards.

"Tipton teams have a lot to be thankful to Ron for. He galvanised teams to victories in the RRC London To Brighton, The Comrades Marathon, The Two Bridges Race, The National 12 and 6 Stage Road Relays, The Veterans National Road Relay, The National Cross Country Championships and of so many others.

"He set us all an example for life, rest in peace Ron your race is done. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Ron Bentley

Mr Bentley died on February 22. His funeral details will be announced in the coming days.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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