Athletics is a luxury.
I came from such a simple origin, without any great privilege, and I would say I also wanted to make a mark. It wasn't until I was about 15 that I appeared in a race.
I found longer races boring. I found the mile just perfect.
The mile has all the elements of a drama.
If I faltered, there would be no arms to hold me and the world would be a cold and forbidding place.
I wanted to be a neurologist. That seemed to be the most difficult, most intriguing, and the most important aspect of medicine, which had links with psychology, aggression, behavior, and human affairs.
Life was very simple. My parents had come from the North of England, which is a fairly rugged, bleak, hard-working part of England, and so there was not the expectation of luxury.
Mothers, unless they were very poor, didn't work. Both of my parents had to leave education. My mother had to work in a cotton mill until 18 or 19, when she took some training in domestic science.
I lived on the top of one hill and the school was at the top of another hill. Nobody ever went to school by car - we didn't have any cars during the war. So that to and from school was itself a training.
May is a very early time in the year and the weather is usually bad. You cannot run a fast mile race if there is a strong wind, because it makes your running uneven.
My concentration was really on getting to university and becoming a doctor. My parents let me know that school marks were important. Achievement was something which came by hard work.
If there was the opportunity to climb a mountain, or to go ballooning, or some adventurous activity, I would always be keen to do it. I loved the countryside.
I was involved in music, acting, and some running, but my firm wish was to become a doctor. That was the formative age when I had decided on the pattern of my career.
My athleticism was really the core to social acceptance, because in those days the overwhelming number of students came from more of a public school background than I did.
I raced supremely well. I felt I was as well fitted to do it as I had ever been, and as perhaps I might ever be. I went climbing three weeks before, because I was feeling fed up with running.
When I was about to break a world record and become well known, my mother used to say that for her the important thing was for me to become a doctor - a career which had not been possible in her generation and in her society. Sport was something to be set aside.
You get very tired, and there was a certain amount of pain and you slow up. Your legs are so tired that you are in fact slowing. If you don't keep running, keep your blood circulating, the muscles stop pumping the blood back and you get dizzy.
Beating John Landy was my defining race.
My family actually lived in the same village for about 400 years. They had great stability until the last century. People lived and intermarried in small villages.
The Athletic Association competed against the University. So there was an event. You cannot break world records unless it is an established event, and you have three timekeepers, and the whole thing is organized.
Our concept of a family holiday was going to a guest house in the Lake district or Wales, where walking was part of the holiday.
My introduction to track racing was through the background of cross country running, which is not a sport perhaps as popular in America as it is in England.
It is a paradox to say the human body has no 'limit.' There must be a limit to the speed at which men can run. I feel this may be around 3:30 for the mile. However, another paradox remains - if an athlete manages to run 3:30, another runner could be found to marginally improve on that time.
It seems quite impossible to walk in America.
I enjoy singing, and the instruments which truly move me are the horn, the trumpet and the cello.
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