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The Athletic Association competed against the University. So there was an event. You cannot break world records unless it is an established event, and you have three timekeepers, and the whole thing is organized.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It had always been a British preoccupation to hold this mile record.
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.
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!
Being Fed Up
Being Hurt By Someone You Love
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