Bill Baillie
Inducted in 2011
Bill Baillie was one of a small group of New Zealand runners whose footsteps on the world’s tracks in the 1950s and 60s trailed clouds of glory.
Sporting Category:
  • Athletics
None excelled over such a range of distances as Bill Baillie, the winner of 12 national titles from 880 yards to six miles.

As noted athletics historian Peter Heidenstrom once wrote: “Better runners than Baillie there may have been, but none who left behind more truly memorable races.”

The most memorable came in August 1963 when he decisively broke the world records for 20,000 metres and the hour – in the latter, Baillie ran 12 miles 960 yards and 7 inches.

The records he broke had been owned by the redoubtable Czech Emil Zatopek, who had transformed distance running a decade earlier.

Over a long international career, there were few top-flight runners who did not at some stage see the distinctive figure of Baillie ahead of them at the finish.

He became a folk hero of New Zealand sport.

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