Sir Roger Bannister (1929 – ) was the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile – one among the foremost iconic athletic milestones.
Born in 1929, he studied medicine at Oxford University and represented Great Britain within the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. At the Olympics, Bannister finished 4th within the 1500 metres. But, inspired by the intensive training and three gold medals of Emil Zatopek, Bannister decided to form a determined effort to beat the magical four-minute barrier for the mile.
At the time, Bannister was working as a doctor and only had limited time for training within the evening. He focused on short intervals, anaerobic training and therefore the use of block training.
For an extended time, the gorgeous symmetry of the four-minute mile had fascinated many. Some experts even suggested that such a time was impossible. In 1923, Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn, recorded a time of 4.10
In 1953, Bannister saw a chance at an athletic meeting between Oxford University and Amateur Athletics Association on 6 May.
The actual day was cold, wet and windy and therefore the record attempt was nearly called off. However, at the last moment, the wind died down, and Bannister decided to require his chance. He was led out by two pacemakers Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher who led him for the primary three laps. Then Bannister made his last effort for the road. Clearly, on the verge of exhaustion, Bannister almost fainted over the road, before the time keeper (Norris McWhirter,) read out his time. McWhirter who went on to figure on the Guinness Book of World Records read out the time to make suspension.
The seconds weren’t heard because the 3,000 crowd cheered the historic moment. Six weeks later in Finland, the Australian John Landy became the person to beat the four-minute mile setting a replacement record of three minutes 57 seconds. But, who remembers the person to run a sub four-minute mile? Bannister held the one mile record for the shortest time.
After breaking the record, Bannister targeting his medical career and remained modest about his ground breaking achievement. He also served as Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993. He later said there was a component of luck in being the primary person to interrupt the four-minute mile. It remains one among the good milestones of athletic history.
He went on to be a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993. When interviewed 50 years after the famous four-minute mile, Bannister was asked whether he thought the sub four-minute mile was his life’s greatest achievements. He said no. He felt his add neurology was of greater importance. Bannister made discoveries within the field of autonomic failure.
The current mile record is held by Hicham El Guerrouj’s with a time of 3:43.13.