Ron Bentley Recollections & Memories (24/02/2019)

With the recent death of Ron Bentley his family would like to hear of memories of Ron from his fellow athletes, friends & acquaintance’s. Please email your stories of him, his races, racing, life and contribution to our sport to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Below are those received to date. A number of people have also commented on our social media pages which we have also reproduced here.

Rosemary & Trevor Wright - Ex Wolverhampton AC, New Zealand

"Both Trevor Wright and Rosemary Wright (Nee Stirling) are saddened to hear of the passing of Ron. My memories are of cross-country races around the Midlands where Ron's presence was always felt. He was so fair to everyone with his encouragement and enthusiasm for participation. We have been living in New Zealand for over 30 years but when we recall athletics our memories will feature both Ron and Tipton Harriers. Best wishes to his family - it is better to have 'loved and lost' than never to have 'loved at all'."

Eddie Wedderburn - Tipton Harrier & Olympian

"So sad to hear of the passing of Ron.

As with many of the people who were lucky enough to have known him, I have many fond memories of him and to thank him for the support he gave me during the early years when I first joined Tipton. That distinctive voice (you had to understand that strong black country dialect) and sense of humour - he was Mr Tipton harrier! I would often describe Ron to anyone as ‘if he was cut, he would bleed green and white’.

I will never forget the shouts of encouragement from all areas of Sutton Park, the many humorous runs around the canals and streets of Tipton, his sauna (after those winter runs), how early he used to get up to go to work and the time we had in Oslo (for the Ekiden Relays).

Condolences to all the family.

Rest in peace and thank you Ron!"

Ray Williams - Tipton Harriers Life Member

"I have so many fond memories of the times I spent in the company of Ron, listening to him regaling us with stories of his time in the army and of anything to do with athletics. I remember running in the Tipton 12 many years ago, struggling along into a strong headwind, when he came up past me shouting in his familiar way 'Raymond, tuck in behind me and hang on'. So typical of the man. A true Tipton LEGEND. Rest in peace Ron."

Tony Phillips - Tipton Harriers Life Member

"One of the first runners I met on joining Tipton Harriers in 1957 was Ron Bentley at the old HQ on Sedgley Road West. At the time Tipton were just recovering after The War and the Jack Holden era. That year only three runners turned out for the National Cross Country Championships - Ron, Ken Rickhuss and Bert Harbach. they, together with the team manager Len Myerscough, formed the core of cross country and road running teams from which the club gradually rebuilt in the late '50's, and by ten years later had developed a team that was challenging for regional and national titles. The National Junior Cross Country had been won in 1961, and in 1969 the club won its first National Cross Country Championship followed by the National Road Relay title in 1972.

As team manager Ron was having a great impact on the team, and over the next forty years Tipton became the most successful road and cross country club in England. Ron made a great contribution to this success as team manager, aided by assistant team managers and coaches, by force of personality, determination to succeed, enthusiasm, team building skills, understanding runners strengths, and what winning teams required.

Who can forget Ron's enthusiastic support for runners in road races, relays, and cross country events, when he closely followed runners over every section of the course. When he was unable to keep up with runners he got on his bike and chased furiously to give encouragement to teams. Before, during, after and at presentations, Ron could be seen talking, joking and laughing with runners and team managers from other clubs including rivals from the North, Midlands and South.

He put Tipton on the map of road and cross country running for half a century. Ron will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to the sport and to Tipton Harriers success, and as a lively, infectious-personality that enabled him to relate to many in, and outside, the world of running . I remember him as a friend, together with his loyal wife, Eva, and family, who are in our thoughts."

Tony Burkitt - Team Mate & Friend

"Ron was a true GIANT of Tipton Harriers, a true GIANT of ultra distance track and road running, a true GIANT of running in general, but even more important, a true leader, and an inspiration to everyone who met him in athletics regardless of their ability, or even which club they ran for.

He would shout and cheer just as loudly for the runner in the lead or at the back of the field.

This was the man who made possible my most treasured memory in road running, namely, being a member of the Tipton Harriers Comrades Marathon Team, South Africa, 1972. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you."

Stan Johnson

"A great man and a terrible loss, a true legend, my condolences to his family."

Lionel Spittle

"Sad news . A real legend... I have such fond memories of running with Ron & other Tipton lads on Sunday mornings from The Dudley Arms... 2hrs + of wonderful stories from Ron & Colin Hunt.... A great runner & a wonderful man! RIP Ron."

Kate Williams

"Sad news. Wonderful man. Today I will be heading over to Himley just like Ron and his wife did every Sunday morning."

Henryk Piotrowski

"A truly sad day indeed. Not only a club legend but an amazing humble human being who always had time for everyone and everyone remembers his presence and encouragement at local races including the road relays. RIP Ron."

Richard Barkway-Smith

"Sad News, Amazing character."

Sean Fenwick

"An honour to have known such a great man, my sincere condolences to his family."

Paul Beckett

"Sad day. A legend has passed."

Michael David Capper

"One of the greatest ever Ultra Runners. RIP"

Chris Morris

"RIP Ron. My hero, a true legend, an honour to have been a friend of this great man, 24hr World Champion and a true Tipton Harrier, condolences to the family and lovely wife Eva ."

Julie Stanier

"Ray has great memories of Ron on his bike at Sutton Park relays. R.I.P."

Ross Woodward

"Great guy, proper runner, proper club man, kind and generous towards others and funny with it. Will be greatly missed by anybody who ever spent time in his company."

Peter McNulty

"Sad news, I remember Ron when I used to run for Sneyd Striders before moving from the Midlands"

Dave Bagshaw

"A great loss to family, club and road running. An iron man, physically and mentally. Re-reading Chris Holloway’s account of Ron’s 24 hour record brought back memories of his leadership of the Tipton team which won the 1972 Comrades Marathon and him inspiring Mick Orton to run, and win. He encouraged so many to run, and excel at the sport he loved. I feel so privileged to have some wonderful memories of a great man, a legend and mentor to so many.”

David Goodman

"A great character, a great man."

Colin Deasy

"As a fellow Ultramarathoner I can well admire Ron's achievements at the Ultra distances, as well as all he achieved at the shorter distances, thoughts are with his family RIP."

Brian Worthington

"So sad to hear this news, he was truly inspirational to me and likewise many others. A very sad loss to the world of athletics. RIP Ron."

Matt Lockett

"Sad day. His enthusiasm for the sport and particularly Tipton Harriers was infectious and added to the pride of wearing the green and white hoops. I always felt the team had to be winning to live up to expectations of the likes of Ron and Andy Holden and that was a great source of motivation and part if what makes the club special. Deepest sympathies to all of the family. RIP Ron"

Ron Turner

"Sad news. Legend at Tipton"

Nick O'Brien

"RIP Ron, a great man!"

Simon Murcott

"RIP to a lovely man"

James Ratcliffe

"Fantastic bloke! RIP Ron"

Charlie Perkins - Former Tipton Harrier (now based in USA)

"...sorry to hear the sad news. Please pass on my condolences to Ron Bentley Jr and the family."

Terry Wood

"Sorry to hear about the sad news I remember when I used to run for Wolverhampton and Bilston running round Sutton Park there would be Ron Bentley around the course shouting and screaming supporting not just Tipton Harriers but all the other running clubs.

In fact it wasn’t just Ron there were also lots of other members of the Club all round the course shouting their teams to come on and I said to myself one day I’m going to run for Tipton Harriers one day and I suppose it was Ron who inspired me to join the club and my motto was if you can’t run for England run for Tipton Harriers its make you feel the same. Rest in peace Ron Bentley. A great. My thoughts are with you and your family."

Steve Bartley - Former Tipton Harrier

"During my time at Tipton Harriers I was a half decent club runner compared to the elite athletes who graced the Harrier’s national squads. At the Wombourn Half Marathon I had what was probably my best ever race and I finished 3rd scorer behind two of Tipton’s top athletes and we took the team prize. Ron ran over to me at the finish and made me feel like I had won an Olympic Gold! At the presentation Ron insisted that I went up to collect the trophy. I have never forgotten how special I was made to feel. It was typical of how Ron encouraged everyone and typical of his boundless enthusiasm for the sport he loved. RIP Ron."

Carol Woodward - Leamington C & AC

"I was so sad to read the news of Ron’s passing, especially on the nine-year anniversary of the death of my own lovely husband, Cavin Woodward. I like to think they are 'up there’ chatting about the good old days with so many of their contemporaries who have sadly gone before.

My memories of Ron span four decades and whenever I think of Tipton, I think of Ron, and vice versa. Ron Bentley was an inspirational runner, a real character, a friend to all, passionate for his sport, and a great encouragement to his fellow runners, such was the generosity and spirit of the man. My favourite memories were the great times we had at the Two Bridges and other ultra races, and the cross-country around Sutton Park, where Ron's voice could be heard above all others shouting encouragement to his team. But the best memory of all was at the Tipton Accolade '100' mile track race in 1975 where Cavin was leading but struggling in the last ten miles of the race. Even though Ron was running the race himself, he was continually shouting encouragement to Cavin and I am sure he was as overjoyed as Cavin when he broke the world record.

Cavin held Ron in great esteem and admiration, as do I and so many others. Ron - thank you for the memories. God bless you, and rest in peace. xx"

Alex Wilson - NUTS (National Union Of Track Statisticians)

"Sad to hear about the passing of Ron Bentley. I spoke to him at length in 2005. What I remember is that he told me he celebrated his 65th birthday by running 24 hours in training that week to commemorate his world record. Amazing."

Jonathan Such - Leamington C & AC and former Tipton Harrier

"There are a small number of people who have played a great part in my running career. Right up there was Ron. I was encouraged to join Tipton Harriers in 1973 by my then next door neighbour in Kingswinford.

I clearly remember the first evening I went to the Club and had a run with some of the lads and had a beer afterwards in the club bar. Across the top of the wall behind the bar was a banner celebrating Ron's 24 hour world record.......I wonder if it is still there!!!!! I met a lot of very good runners such as Doug Fownes, Ron of course, Kenny Rock, Darryl McWhirter, sorry my memory has let me down on others whose faces I can clearly see as I write.

I did not run for long with Tipton as my job at the BOC in Wolverhampton moved me to Coventry and I bought a house in Warwick. I was advised personally by Ron that there was a club there..... Leamington C and AC with a good runner named Cavin Woodward that I might consider joining.

At LCAC there was another good crowd and I became a life long friend of Cavin Woodward.

Ron and Cavin shaped my thoughts towards long distance running and even at the age of 71 I am still running albeit a lot slower and much shorter distances. Having passed 100 000 miles a few years ago my knees are now troubling me.

I last saw Ron at Cavin's funeral and I had a great chat with him and his lovely wife.

Carol Woodward let me know about Ron today on the 9th anniversary of Cavin's own death. She expressed the hope that they are both up there chatting about their great races.

Rest in Peace Ron"

Paul Allen - Halesowen A & CC, Tipton Harrier 1968-76

"From many of us from Halesowen we will miss him and his bike at the 12 Stage. No matter what club you ran for Ron would encourage all.

I joined the club in 1969 and Ron made me welcome as soon as I joined. Still remember the dinner time runs from his yard in Oldbury where he and his brother would put us through our paces. A great inspiration and a Tipton Harrier to the core. R.I.P. Ron you have given a lot to our sport we all love."

George Johnson - Former Tipton Harrier (1960 to 1973)

"Sorry to hear of Ron's passing. Proud to have been a member of Ron's long distance running team. Rest in peace."

Jim Harvey - Former Tipton Harrier, now residing in USA

"I am deeply saddened to hear of Ron’s passing he was a great man. He inspired many generations of athletes to excel and perform and deliver their best when it was required most. He was a unique person with wonderful qualities who typified the area and Tipton Harriers. A true legend who touched everyone that knew him. Condolences to Ron’s family."

John Peniket - Former Tipton Harrier

"I am saddened to learn of Ron’s death, but gratified to read the wonderful anonymous obituary of such a memorable personality.

In the 1950’s a group of teenagers at Wednesbury Boys’ High School (a grammar school) formed a school cross-country team. We latched on to Tipton Harriers and went for training from the old HQ on the Palethorpes site. There we met Ron: a Black Country diamond lacking the educational benefits that we enjoyed but showing the leadership qualities that are so well described in his obituary. In terms of academic aspirations we could not have been more different, but Ron’s encouragement and sense of fun made us look forward with relish to the evening training and weekend races.

At the time he was not an outstanding individual winner since the ultra-distance achievements were ahead of him. That did not stop him supporting all the teams in competition.

Our small group of pupils trained with him and learned from him. As we grew through our teens we found ourselves competing with the best in schools’ cross-country events, winning the Northern Schools’ Championships in 1957. Two of our number helped the Tipton club to win the National Junior Cross-country championship in 1961.

As my own career developed away from the Midlands I lost touch with Ron, but followed his ultra achievements with interest. We last met at Geoff Wood’s funeral 20+ years ago. He seemed entirely unchanged and immediately greeted me like a long-lost brother. What a lot of “brothers” he must have had who will treasure the memories of him and mourn his passing."

Bud Baldaro - Coach & Tipton Harriers Life Member

"To me Ron Bentley epitomised - the Harriers, the Black Country, strong, solid, resilient, loyal he embodied all that was good in the world of road running. I cherish images of him at the National road relay. there was no limit to his passion and enthusiastic commitment. Sutton Park will never be quite the same.

God bless you Ron and thank you for all you did."

Andy Milroy - Road Runners Club & Ultra Distance expert.

"My strongest memory of Ron was in 1982. Dave Dowdle was going for the world 24 hour record at Gloucester and was struggling - he wanted to come off. Ron and Jean-Gilles Bousiquet combined to push him back on and he went to break Jean-Gilles’s record, the first man over 170 miles."

Brian Smith - West Midland Running Scene"

"Very sad to hear the news. I bet Ron is up there chatting about old times with Colin Hunt now."

Brian McAusland - Scottish Athletics Historian

"Very sorry to hear that indeed. He was a very, very well-kent face at the Two Bridges races and there are more than a few who remember him."