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Roger Bannister

From Academic Kids

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister KBE (born March 23, 1929) is a former British athlete best known as the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes. Bannister is now a distinguished neurologist. He was born in Harrow, London, England.

History

Bannister was educated at the City of Bath Boys' Grammar School, University College School, London, Exeter College and Merton College, Oxford, and at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, London.

The 4-minute-mile

This historic event took place on 6 May, 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford and was watched by about 3,000 spectators during a meet between British AAA and Oxford University. With winds up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h), the event was almost cancelled. However, the persistent Bannister prevailed and was rewarded with the honour of running the "Miracle Mile". His time was 3 min 59.4 s. The race was paced by Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, both of whom went on to establish their own stellar track performances. The timekeeper was Norris McWhirter, who went on to edit the Guinness Book of Records.

On 21 June, his record was broken by John Landy of Australia, with a time of 3 min 58 s.

On 7 August, at the British Empire games in Vancouver, B.C., Bannister met Landy for the first time: Bannister won in 3 min 58.8 s, 0.6 s under his own record, but 0.8 s over Landy's.

His record-setting mile run was called the "Miracle Mile" because some doubted a four-minute-mile was possible. Bannister wore the number 41 on his jersey that day. He was the first recipient of Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. A medical student at the time, Bannister retired from athletics in 1954 to pursue a career in neurology. He later became the first Chairman of the British Sports Council (a government agency for encouraging wider sports participation and building of sports facilities by local authorities) and was knighted for these services in 1975.

Training anecdote

As a medical student at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, Roger Bannister chose to use his lunch hour for a 10 minute jog to Paddington track, where he ran 10 X 400 m in about 60 s with two minutes rest, then he ran back to work. The whole procedure took 48 minutes, leaving him 12 minutes to eat his lunch.de:Roger Bannister

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