The first international awareness of John Walker was at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in 1974 when he chased home Filbert Bayi of Tanzania in the 1500 metres, which Bayi won in world record time. Sixteen years later, Walker raced again in the Commonwealth Games. In between, he was one of the world’s outstanding milers. He set a world mile record of 3:49.4 in 1975 to become the first to break 3:50 and in 1976 he won the 1500 metres gold medal at the Montreal Olympics, the third New Zealander to win that blue riband event. He also set a world 2000 metres record in 1976 in Oslo. Walker’s career was disrupted by injury and he had to miss the 1978 Commonwealth Games while politics meant he could not defend his Olympic title in Moscow in 1980. Walker returned from setbacks though and became the first to achieve the milestone of 100 sub-four minute miles. He was attempting to become the first 40-year-old to run a sub-four mile when injury finally forced a halt to his career. Walker was knighted in 2009 to become Sir John Walker.
Personal Bests: 800 – 1:44.92 (1974); 1500 – 3:32.4 (1975); Mile – 3:49.4 (1975); 5000 – 13:19.28 (1986).