Legendary British runner Sir Roger Bannister reveals he has Parkinson's disease
Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes, has revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease. The 85-year-old said that he had known he suffered from the disease for over three years now, but chose to reveal it on a BBC Radio interview that celebrated the 60th anniversary of his remarkable achievement.
Bannister ran the Iffey Road track on 6 May, 1954, in a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, creating a record. In honour of his achievement the track was renamed after him. After an impeccable running career, Bannister became a neurologist.
Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, Bannister said “I am having trouble with walking. Ironically it is a neurological disorder – Parkinson’s. I have seen and looked after patients with so many neurological and other disorders, that’s why I am not surprised I have acquired an illness. It’s in the nature of things. I am being well looked after and I don’t intend to let it interfere – as much as I can.”
Bannister is looking on the positive side of things, and he added, “Just consider the alternatives – that is the way I look at it. One of my pleasures in life – apart from running – has been walking. Intellectually I am not degenerating and what is walking anyway?”
“I know quite a lot about Parkinson’s and have treated a lot of people with it. I am aware of all the research that’s been done. I think it will take some time before there is a breakthrough. But the management and drug treatments are improving all the time.”
Bannister had a remarkable career during which he won gold medals at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver in the 1 mile event along with gold at the European Championships in 1954 in Berlin in the 1500 metres and bronze in 1950 in Brussels in the 800 metres.