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Roger Bannister, 1st to run sub 4-minute mile, dies at 88

05 March, 2018, 01:03 | Author: Hannah Francis
  • Roger Bannister, 1st to run sub 4-minute mile, dies at 88

Bannister, the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile, died peacefully in Oxford on Saturday at the age of 88.

So on May 6, 1954, when the public address man announced Bannister's time with a dramatic pause the crowd of 3,000 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England drowned out the rest of the announcement with a roar.

Bannister, who also won a Commonwealth and European Championship gold medal that year, went on to become a leading neurologist.

The record breaker was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011. "He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends". He was a boy who "just ran anywhere and everywhere - never because it was an end in itself, but because it was easier for me to run than to walk", Bannister wrote in "The First Four Minutes", his 1995 memoir. "Sir Roger Bannister showed that barriers are there to be broken and there are no limits".

In March of 1994, Sir Roger Bannister holds a photograph of himself breaking the four-minute mile barrier for the first time on May 6, 1954. "I'd like to see it as a metaphor not only for sport, but for life and seeking challenges".

He entered the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki as the United Kingdom record-holder in the mile, finishing a disappointing fourth in the 1,500-meter run. Supposedly, the smartest and most plugged-in observers had concluded that human beings simply were not capable of running a mile in less than four minutes, and so Bannister's having done it was not only a historic achievement, but a scientific one too. "The first person you're taught to look up to is Roger Bannister".




Brasher's son Hugh, London Marathon event director, said Bannister's achievement puts him "at the very top" of athletics' all-time greats.

Bannister was chairman of the Sports Council between 1971 and 1974, during which he developed the first test for anabolic steroids. "There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements on and off the track".

After retiring from competition, Bannister pursued a successful career in neurology.

I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Roger Bannister.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said Bannister's death represented a "day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics". With his wife, Moyra Jacobsson, a portrait painter and daughter of a Swedish economist, he had four children.

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