Sir John Walker is a champion New Zealander and one of Manukau’s favourite sporting icons.
During a long and distinguished career, matched by few others, he made his international debut in 1973. He showed extraordinary durability for a runner and created a staggering list of achievements. Chief among them, he –
- Became the first athlete to break 3m 50s for the mile in 1975 at Gothenburg, Sweden with a time of 3m 49.4secs. That record was to stand for almost four years before being beaten by Sebastian Coe in July 1979.
- Won the 1976 Olympic gold medal over 1500m at Montreal in a compelling performance.
- Became the first person to ever run 100 sub-four minute miles -achieving that mark a staggering 135 times.
- Set the world record over 2000m at Oslo in 1976 and his time of 4m 51.4s was to stand for almost a decade
- Won 14 NZ Track and Field titles over 800m and 1500m
- Won the Halberg Award twice, in 1975 and ‘76 and was also voted the ‘Sportsman of the Decade’ for the 1970s.
- Competed at two Olympics (1976 and 1984) and four Commonwealth Games (1974, 1984, 1986 and 1990) where he collected one Olympic gold medal and two Commonwealth silver and one Commonwealth bronze medals.
Born in Papakura, John and his wife Helen have long made Manukau their home. A councillor for Manurewa/Papakura in the Auckland Council, he is concerned about the health and welfare of Auckland’s young people.