A TRIBUTE to one of Herefordshire's most famous athletes has been officially unveiled today.

Ghost Runner John Tarrant, one of the world's great ultra long-distance runners, began his sporting career by taking up boxing before attempting to pursue his true love - running.

But after declaring his brief dalliance with prize-fighting in his teenage years, he was banned from amateur athletics for life.

The ban meant he was unable to officially compete, but that was to be no barrier for John.

He found ways and means of joining races, waiting beside the track with his shorts and vest covered by an overcoat which he would cast aside to join the race as the registered runners left their marks, running not for the results, but for the love of the sport.

In 1958, the ban was lifted and John set world records over long-distance races of both 40 and 100 miles, but despite his incredible success, he was never permitted to run for his country.

John died in 1975, aged just 44, but his reputation lives on in Hereford thanks to the determination of Hereford runners and coaches Nikki Tyler and Lisa Ruck, who were coached themselves by John's brother Vic Tarrant, who died last month aged 85.

The culmination of years of work, the ribbon was cut today on the much-anticipated Ghost Runner sculpture by England Athletics Chief Executive, Chris Jones as John Tarrant's son Roger looked on.

Currently located in Holmer Road's skatepark, it is hoped that once planning approval has been given, the statue will become a permanent fixture alongside the city's athletics track.