Ray Hatton passes at 83

Ray Hatton, a longtime Central Oregon Community College professor and decorated long-distance runner died last week at the age of 83.

Ray was a longtime COCC geography professor from 1969 through 1993 and a member of the USA Track & Field Masters Hall of Fame, died March 4 in Eugene. He was 83.

The Greats: Ray Hatton

Running is just a part of me now

March 2, 2010

"If anyone my age wants to take me on, I'm ready," says 77-year-old Ray Hatton of Bend, Ore. "Otherwise, I am not really motivated to race these days. I much prefer to go out on the trails and enjoy the scenery."

When, during the early and mid-1970s, masters competition was still in its infancy, Hatton was "the man" on both the track and the roads, at least in races up to 20K. He set many American 40-44 records on the track, including 4:24.0 for 1 mile, 9:17.6 for 2 miles, and 30:56.0 for 10,000m. He no doubt would have had many road records, but his best performances came in the days before course certification and record keeping. Still, Hatton's name can be found four times among the all-time age-graded performances. They came between ages 49 and 55 and include a 31:51 (97.2 percent) for 10K at age 51 and a 1:09:23 (95.3 percent) for 20K at age 55.

Born in Lichfield, England, Hatton took up running in 1943 while in high school and didn't give up racing until 1992 after back surgery. "But I am still putting in 30 to 35 miles a week and my weight is still at 138-140, pretty much what it has always been," says Hatton, his English accent still very much with him even though he has lived in the U.S. since attending the University of Idaho on an athletic scholarship, where he won the 1959 Pacific Coast Conference cross country championship. He earned his master's degree at the University of Oregon and taught geography at Central Oregon Community College in Bend for many years.

Looking back, Hatton most treasures his days of running with the Birchfield Harriers in England, when he ran a 4:11 mile and 8:57 2-mile, excellent times in those days of low-mileage training, when the marathon was not a popular event. "I never really had the time or desire for high-mileage training and so was never motivated to run a marathon or go more than 20K," Hatton explains, mentioning that he rarely did more than 35 miles of training in one week.

"I do it mostly for health and fitness now," he adds. "But I don't really think that much about why I do it. Running is just part of me now."

For more in-depth info on Ray, visit WIKIPEDIA   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Hatton