Mile News

After 60 years, sub-4 minute Mile still the standard for runners

May 06, 2014

Henry Marsh: "My dreams and goals were around the Mile and running a sub-4 Mile.”

By Doug Robinson, Deseret News

Like so many others around the world, Henry Marsh noted the 60th anniversary this week of Roger Bannister’s historic feat. On May 6, 1954, Bannister became the first man to break 4 minutes in the Mile, running 3:59.4 on a cool, blustery day on the wet cinder track at Oxford. It was exactly two seconds faster than Gunder Hagg’s 9-year-old world record.

Marsh, a former BYU All-American and Olympian, has a special reason to acknowledge the anniversary. He is a member of the sub-4 club. He competed in four Olympic Games, set four American records in the steeplechase, and ranked #1 in the world in that event three times, and he still mentions his sub-4 Mile in the same breath as those other accomplishments.

“That was the standard,” he says. “That was it.”

Since Bannister’s historic run, more than 1,300 men have broken the so-called 4 minute barrier, including 420 Americans and 11 Utahns. Twenty to 30 men join the club each year, but the sub-4 still retains a certain mystique and is on every distance runner’s bucket list. Maybe it’s the nice even numbers — 60 seconds per lap, 4 laps, 4 minutes — that capture their imagination, this perfect combination of speed and endurance.

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Tags: roger bannister (175) , henry marsh (1) , doug robinson (2)

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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.

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