The First Sub-Four Minute Mile

May 27, 2012

 Runner-Up: My Most Memorable Mile Essay Contest (May 2012)

Thank you to Richard Hoskin who painfully had the chance to brush shoulders with history and missed it. But, we do very much respect the honoring of commitments! Richard is currently focused on writing and researching an historical novel set in his native Cornwall and frequently lectures on "Cornwall: History, Mystery and Mines".

Roger Bannister's first sub-4 minute Mile in 1954 turned out to be the most disappointing in my life.

I was an undergraduate at Oxford at the time. A college friend suggested that we go to the Iffley Road track to watch the athletic meet. I was no athlete, in fact running was my least favorite compulsory sport at school. But I enjoyed watching sports. 

His old school friend Chris Chataway was running in the Mile. Chris's best events were longer; he later ran in the Olympics and set the world record in the 5,000 metres. His role that day was as pace maker for a medical student named Roger Bannister.  

However, I declined. I was already committed to going to the Iffley Road, but to St. Hilda's College. I had accepted an invitation to tea that afternoon with a lady friend from my home town in Cornwall. Honor forbade reneging for a better invitation. I was blissfully unaware that at the moment the tea was being poured and the cucumber sandwiches were being passed something much more exciting, of world-wide significance, was being accomplished just along the road.

It was only at dinner in the hall that evening that I learned how close I had come to rubbing shoulders with history. I could not have been a participant, but at least would have been a spectator with a tale to tell. These days when invited out to tea, before accepting I ask what else is going on.

Facebook Comments

Archive

2017

September

2014

December

March

February

January

2013

December

November

October

September

August

June

January

2012

December

October

September

See all Archives

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

ELEVATE
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.

CELEBRATE
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.

NATIONAL MOVEMENT
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.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!https://www.bringbackthemile.com/news/detail/the_summit_chase_of_an_organization_miler_jim_beatty

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

Share your Story

Share your Photo

Share your Video