George Hillier was one of the finest middle and long-distance runners Newfoundland and Labrador has ever produced. During his career Hillier, who was born in St. John’s, held records in the one mile, three mile, six mile and the 26-mile marathon. He was, at various times, provincial champion in every race from the one mile to the marathon.
He competed successfully in cross-country running, tennis, table tennis and was no stranger to walking races. In all his athletic endeavours, he earned a reputation for always displaying exceptional sportsmanship and showing the very highest regard for all others involved in any event in which he was associated. He was simply a fine athlete and a true gentleman.
His long distance running career started in the late 1940s and his first victory came in The Evening Telegram 10-mile event in 1950. He won the Telegram 10-mile race for seven successive years and placed first in the Daily News Marathon in 1951, ’52 and ’53. In the six-mile run, he had first-place finishes in 1952, ’53, ’54 and ’55; placed first in the one mile in 1951 and 1953 and was winner of the half-mile competition in 1951.
He excelled nationally, again demonstrating the skill and talent that he displayed at the provincial and local levels.
He was first among the Canadian entries in the 1955 Canadian Marathon at Trois Rivieres, Quebec, and in 1956 won the Canadian Marathon Championship in Hamilton, Ontario. In the 1954 British Empire Marathon trials, heat exhaustion forced him out of the competition after he held first place for 20 miles. This performance gained him a place on Canada’s national marathon team and at an international race he finished fifth. He moved to Boston in 1955 and continued his marathon running. He was 19th in the 1955 Boston Marathon and placed 25th against an internationally renowned field in 1956.
He was twice voted St. John’s Athlete of the year, for 1954 and 1955.
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