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 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 enjoy singing, and the instruments which truly move me are the horn, the trumpet and the cello.
I found longer races boring. I found the mile just perfect.
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.
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.
I think that is a universal adolescent feeling, trying to find your place. The adolescent who is perfectly adjusted to his environment, I've yet to meet.
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 was always a great bundle of energy. As a child, instead of walking, I would run. And so running, which is a pain to a lot of people, was always a pleasure to me because it was so easy.
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.
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.
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!
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 a question of spreading the available energy, aerobic and anaerobic, evenly over four minutes. If you run one part too fast, you pay a price. If you run another part more slowly your overall time is slower.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our house was bombed, and the roof fell in. We were sitting under the stairs of the basement, and we were quite safe, but it brought home the realization. In two nights 400 people were killed in small town.
The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.
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.