Billy Best

Inducted into the RunNB Hall of Fame: November 2011

A quotation from an article in the Telegraph journal concerning Billy Best running ability: ?one of the outstanding long distance runners this province has ever had. From track and field in high school in 1955 right up to the beginning of the 1970?s, the lanky dynamo from Minto has been making headlines?.

Billy Best, a long resident of Minto began his running career wile attending Minto Memorial High School. With guidance from Frank Phillips, teacher, mentor and coach, Billy was a member of the 1954 school team that won the Canadian Midget Cross Country Championship. Billy was the team captain and leading runner.

An outstanding running careet followed. During his high school years, Billy took many first place honours.

In 1955, he was first in the 800 yards and one mile midget road race held in St. Stephen.

In 1956, in the Minto-Chipman 16.5 mile road race he set a new time of 1:58:19 topping the previous record of 2:03:28.

In 1957 at the New Glasgow N.S. Road Races, Billy was first in the one mile event Junior Division, with a record time of 4:45:06. That same year he set a juvenile record in the 880 yard race at the Legion Track and Field meet in Fredericton.

In 1958 at the NBIAA in the over 17 category Cross Country Championship 2.5 mile race he set a course record of 11:38:07

Graduating from high school in 1960, Billy continued his running career, competing then against older, mature and seasoned runners.

Billy developed his own training regime, running up and down mud dumps, running backwards, and doing 15 to 20 mile jaunts to build leg strength, endurance and stamina of body and mind required for the grueling events that make up cross country running. All this was done while working long days at his fathers milling operation.

Over the next 10 years 1960-=1970, Billy entered many meets concentration on the longer races. At Halifax, he won the 1960 Maritime Natal Day 8.5 mile road race. Billy went on to win this race three more times, setting a new course record.

He won the Saint John annual 5 mile road race 7 consecutive years. Stan Cannon, race organizer was so taken by his feat, that he presented Billy with his own 5 Mile trophy in 1940. Engraved on the trophy is the words,?Fond memories from Stan Cannon 1969.

Billy competed in the Boston Marathon twice in 1962 he finished in 51st place in a field of hundreds. In 1984 , he completed the run with a respectable time given his 44 years.

Billy retired from competitive running in 1970 but returned to the sport in 1980 winning the 5 mile Saint John Road Race this time in the Masterd Division. Always striving to win and usually succeeding, Billy placed 1st in the Sun Life Masters Championship series of provincial races in 1981-82-83. These races were based on point system.

In 1986 at the National Masters Championships held in Sherbrooke Quebec competing in the 800 meters he won gold and in the 400 meters he won bronze and in the 1500 meters event he placed fourth.

Billy continues to run but no longer competes.

Personal Records

Event Chrono Location
Mile 0:53 St. John, NB
Mile 2:05 St. John, NB
1 Mile 4:28 Summerside, PEI
3 Mile Set the Record - 15:32.05 PEI
3 Mile 15:10 Fredericton, NB
5 Mile 26:10 St. Stephen, NB
8 Mile Holds Record - 43:04 Halifax, NS
12.5 Mile 68:45 Woodstock, NB
Marathon 2:39:47 Oromocto, NB

Photos