Sir Roger Bannister has Parkinson’s disease

Sir Roger Bannister is suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Sir Roger Bannister has revealed that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, 60 years after becoming the first man to run a four-minute mile on May 6 1954.


The former runner, who went on to have a long and distinguished career as a neurologist, was diagnosed with the condition three years ago but had decided not to speak about it publicly until now.

Sir Bannister, 85, told BBC Radio Oxford that he is now having difficulty walking.

The former athlete was talking to the radio station for a documentary to mark the anniversary of his famous run in the city. The documentary will be broadcast today (Friday).

He said: “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 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.”

The record-breaker said: “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!”

After his retirement from athletics following the 1964 European Championships, Sir Roger focused on his career in the field of neurology.

He had a distinguished career, becoming Master of Pembroke College at the University of Oxford.

He retired in 1993, with the university naming a building after him in honour of his achievements.

The Bannister Building is an 18th century townhouse that is used as student accommodation.

The sporting legend said: “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.”

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