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.
I've always been very impatient. At age 10 I frankly found life boring, and I can remember age 9 having the awful thought, as it seems now looking back on it, A war! That should liven things up a bit!
I trained for less than three-quarters of an hour, maybe five days a week - I didn't have time to do more. But it was all about quality, not quantity - so I didn't waste time jogging, ever.
The reason sport is attractive to many of the general public is that it's filled with reversals. What you think may happen doesn't happen. A champion is beaten, an unknown becomes a champion.
The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.
I couldn't disappoint people. I did not want to fail and exhaust myself, because I was the kind of runner who trained so little that I couldn't race again within another 10 days.
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.
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.
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.
I found longer races boring. I found the mile just perfect.
I had always wanted to become a neurologist, which is one of the most demanding vocations in medicine. Where do you stop, after all, with the brain? How does it function? What are its limits? The work seems unending.
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.
It's amazing that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have broken the 4-minute mile.
I enjoy singing, and the instruments which truly move me are the horn, the trumpet and the cello.
I was playing rugby and the other games English school children do, and there was an event in which races were run, and I won these by a considerable margin.
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