When I was a young man, middle distance running was a hugely popular sport. I used to train for hours on end. At schoolboy level the reward was the pick of admiring school girls. Anyone winning the Olympic men's one mile or 1,500 metres title was admired across the world. Just think of the pick he had. Women's sport didn't have quite the same following in those days. In 1976, the Olympic Champion was New Zealander, John Walker. I can still see his flowing locks in my mind's eye, as he beat all comers for years.
In all, he ran 135 sub 4 minute miles. 16 years ago he was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's. The Mail on Sunday has a great piece on him today. As is common with Parkinson's sufferers, he's incredibly positive. Unfortunately I can't find the story online. Its on pages 92/93.
The MoS has another Parkinson's Disease story today - about the link between Dopamine and compulsive behaviour, in this case gambling. Dopamine is produced naturally in the brain, but not after Parkinson's strikes. Medication is based on stimulating the production of Dopomine. Today's story was about how gambling had destroyed the marriage of a sufferer. A sad story.
Over the last few days I've attended two Parkinson's Disease events. The first was in Cardiff when Edwina Hart, the health Minister spoke. John and Sue Day from Montgtomeryshire were there, and joined me for the above photograph. Both of them are sufferers, as is John's brother and father. And yesterday, I joined Karen Emberton on their stall at the big fair in Montgomery - that's the other photograph. Reason I take such an interest is that I'm president of the Montgomershire Branch.