Bannister has Parkinson's

Bannister has Parkinson's

Bannister has Parkinson's

Almost 60 years to the day since becoming the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, Roger Bannister has revealed he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The 85-year-old Briton said he had been suffering with the degenerative nervous disease for three years but only revealed it in a BBC radio interview marking the anniversary of his run in Oxford on May 6, 1954. Bannister ran three minutes, 59.4 seconds on the Iffley Road track, now named after him, to break the four-minute barrier.

After a distinguished running career in which he also won a gold medal over one mile at the 1954 Commonwealth Games and the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in the same year, he became a neurologist.

He told BBC Radio Oxford: “I am having troubles with walking. Ironically it is a neurological disorder -- Parkinson’s.

“There's a gentle irony to it. 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 said he was diagnosed with the disease three years ago but has refrained from speaking publicly about it until now. “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?”

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