Patricia Hill #35
Patricia ‘Trish’ Hill was born in 1948.
At just seven years old Trish contracted polio and as a result developed paraplegia. She still managed to walk with a combination of crutches and callipers, but started using a wheelchair at the age of eleven. Over the last six decades she has been one of our most successful Para athletes.
Trish first took an interest in Para sport when she read a Woman’s Weekly article about one of the most successful New Zealand Para athletes of all time, Paralympian #13 Eve Rimmer, who won thirty-two international medals in her Para athletics and Para swimming career, including twenty-two Golds. Trish’s parents took her to meet Eve on the way to a hospital visit, and Trish tried on one of Eve’s medals. This introduced the Hill family to the idea of Para sport, and with the help of some local Dunedin Para athletes, they started a local branch, which grew quickly.
At first Trish did not have an official coach, but in time Wayne Gough, a local athletics coach, took her on board and her husband, Dave, who had been her biggest supporter since they first met in 1966, was there to help and learn.
The Hills spent endless hours out on the road doing distance work, but if Dave was not available then Trish’s father would often help her organise her wheelchair and her pre-training stretching and warm-up routines.
This hard work led Trish to a very successful career. Trish was selected to 3 consecutive Paralympic Games: Arnhem 1980, New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 and Seoul 1988.
She won an impressive tally of 8 Paralympic medals, including 2 Gold medals. Her most successful event was the Slalom 2 that combines agility and speed.
In 1988, Trish became the first woman to do a marathon in a wheelchair in New Zealand. After the Seoul Paralympic Games, Trish retired, but continued to help Paralympics New Zealand with nationwide fundraising, along with other retired athletes, for the Barcelona Paralympic Games.
Read more about Trish Hill in the Kiwi Runner’s Family Tree – Volume 1 written by Dreydon Sobanja.
Trish received her ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin as part of The Celebration Project in Dunedin in February 2021.