Gold Coast 2018 have named their headquarters after late distance running legend Ron Clarke ©Gold Coast 2018

Gold Coast 2018 have honoured late Australian distance running legend Ron Clarke by naming their Ashmore headquarters after him at a special ceremony held today.

Clarke, bronze medallist in the 10,000 metres at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and four-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist, died in June last year following a short illness aged 78.

He served as Gold Coast Mayor for 12 years between 2002 and 2014 and was a pivotal figure in the Queensland city’s successful bid to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Organising Committee, who recently appointed former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie as its new chairman to replace Nigel Chamier, have decided to honour Clarke and his name will now adorn their headquarters.

Images of Clarke, who set 17 world records during his time on the track, from his career and personal life have been depicted on the pathway to the headquarters, now called the “Ron Clarke Building”.

“There is no doubt the powerful mix of Ron’s status as a world-recognised athlete, combined with his civic leadership assisted the bid greatly,” Minister for the Commonwealth Games Stirling Hinchliffe said.

“Indeed, his personal contribution to that success is one of the key reasons we are standing here today.

“Ron Clarke was unquestionably one of the all-time greats of world middle distance running at a time of enormous depth in the Australian ranks.

“Whilst Ron never won Olympic or Commonwealth gold medal, he without doubt revolutionised his sport with his 17 official world records and showed generations of runners, and people from all walks of life, what could be achieved with hard work and courage,” he said.

Ron Clarke, who set 17 world records during his career, died last year aged 78
Ron Clarke, who set 17 world records during his career, died last year aged 78 ©Getty Images

Beattie was also full of praise for Clarke and hinted the former runner would not be the last Australian sporting hero to be recognised.

“He was a Mayor with an extremely strong will who wasn’t afraid of breaking ranks to achieve a noble aim,” Mr Beattie said.

“And as a Commonwealth Games competitor in Perth in 1962, Kingston 1966 and Edinburgh in 1970, he certainly knew what the Games were about.

“I know that then-Premier Anna Bligh and the entire bid team had the highest respect and admiration for what he brought to the table in 2011.

“I certainly shared that admiration.

“As Premier during the first three years of Ron’s mayoralty I found him to be one of the most honest and forthright people to ever visit my office, and an absolute gentleman.”

His wife Helen added: “We are very thrilled, we are honoured and particularly it is the Commonwealth Games people doing it that we were all so much part of it.

“He was never sat back on his laurels so he would be a little bit embarrassed.”