Ron Laird is a 65 time national champion in race walking and a 1992 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
Ron Laird was born on May 31, 1938 in Louisville, Kentucky. He began his athletic career as middle distance runner in high school. Unfortunately, he had little success running, so he began to pick up other events, including shot put, javelin and, lastly, race walking. He entered his first race with a 600 yard handicap and still came in last. Undeterred, he kept training a quickly learned that he was far better at race walking than any other event.
Over the course of his career, Laird won an unprecedented 65 national championships, spanning distances of one mile to 50km. In addition, Laird competed in four Olympic Games (1960, 1964, 1968 and 1976) with his best performance coming in the 1960 50km final, in which he placed 19th. Despite never having won an Olympic medal, he did win a gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games in the 20km walk.
To this day, Laird remains, arguably, the greatest American race walker in history.