Mile News

Roger Bannister’s Club Is Getting Less Exclusive

May 02, 2014

Since 2010, 91 American men have run a sub-4:00 Mile.

By Kevin Helliker, Wall Street Journal, The Count

Before hanging up his running spikes last year, Patrick Todd did something that earned him life-long membership in an exclusive club: He ran a sub-4 minute Mile. "It was one of those wild fantasies," Todd said shortly after the 2011 feat.

It was 60 years ago next week that the Englishman Roger Bannister became the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier (under recorded conditions anyway), and the accomplishment remains rarified. No woman has done it: The female Mile record, set by Russian Svetlana Masterkova, has stood at 4:12,56 since 1996. Only 420 U.S. men have run the Mile under 4 minutes, starting with Don Bowden in 1957, and at year end only 1,303 men worldwide had done so, according to Ryan Lamppa, founder of Bring Back the Mile, a group devoted to restoring a distance that in many track meets has been replaced by the 1500 meters.

But growth in that club is surging. A Track & Field News by-year list of American Milers who have broken 4 minutes shows that in 2012 the number reached 23—a record that was repeated in 2013. That may reflect a small increase in the number of meets featuring the Mile. But also relevant is that the public—which has no idea what constitutes an elite 1500-meter finish—still reveres the sub-4 minute Mile. "It's a way to open doors," says Todd, a 24-year-old real-estate analyst whose LinkedIn profile includes: "Sub 4 miler."

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Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

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