From never running a long-distance race in his life to becoming New York’s fastest runner in his age group, David Hill (BSc Mathematics, 1978) discovered a brand-new hobby that he didn't expect to excel at. This was all thanks to a catch up meeting and drink with a fellow Warwick alum and friend, Piers.
I was 58 when I ran my first long-distance race. A drink with a friend, Piers Keenleyside, who I’d met at Warwick and who was visiting me in New York for the marathon, put the idea into my head. He told me he’d run 26 marathons in the prior year. It made me think, ‘If he could do that, how difficult could one be?’, so I signed up and ran the Central Park Half. It went well, so I ran the Riverside Half. I came in second overall. I realised I was good at this – much better than I expected! Following that, I ran my first marathon, Yonkers, and pIaced 40th overall and second in my age group. It allowed me to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Since then, I’m always invited to run New York as a local competitive runner. I’ve run the Chicago and Boston Marathons. In 2020, I got a sponsor, Senior Planet, and I’m arguably the fastest long-distance runner my age in New York City this year. I won my age category in the Fred Lebow Half Marathon and was the first New York City finisher in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, one of the world’s top long-distance races.
I’ve just completed the Boston Marathon – finishing that really strongly with my last quarter mile at a 6 mins 14 secs pace! Next on the list is Brooklyn Half Marathon in May and New York Marathon later this year. There’s no stopping me now!
Looking back on the past eight years and everything I’ve achieved in my running career, I know this would never have happened without my University of Warwick connection.
Soon after 9/11, David and his friend, Lisa Frigand, created a mind-map entitled 'Rebuilding Downtown Manhattan'. The map greatly assisted in rebuilding Manhattan after 9/11. The power of this map is that it shows something very complex in a way that makes it clear. Soon after, The Museum of Modern Art, New YorkLink opens in a new window (MoMA) acquired David’s Rebuilding Downtown Manhattan mind map. A note from the museum said, “We all felt that the work was of such important historical interest that we should include it in the MoMA Study Collection. The Mind Map is of particular interest to us given that we hold to much material pertaining to 9/11 and the rebuilding of lower Manhattan.”