Mile News

Get Off the Sofa: Time is Running Out to Locate the Roger Bannister Lurking Inside Every One of Us

May 08, 2013

On a cinder track, 59 years ago on Monday, Roger Bannister became the first person to run the sub-four-minute Mile.

By Tanya Aldred, The Telegraph

It was a squally day, not good for records, and Roger Bannister nearly did not run at the Iffley Road track. But he knew his rivals were closing in and the wind dropped just before the attempt was due to start at 6pm. Three minutes 59.4 seconds later he dived for the line and stumbled into history, that tall, slight, long-limbed figure in the white shorts and vest.

Bannister retired at the end of the summer to continue his medical studies, so we will never know how much faster he might have gone – his training methods at the time were considered rather haphazard. He was more interested in neuroscience than running, and was embarrassed about all the fuss over his achievement. (The current record of 3:43.13 would, incidentally, leave Bannister at the top bend while Hicham El Guerrouj was finishing.)

Nevertheless, many of us, light years away from a sub-four-minute mile, wonder idly how much faster we could go.

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