Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Roger Bannister, First to Run a 4-Minute Mile, Dies

Roger Bannister, First to Run a 4-Minute Mile, Dies

Sir Roger became the first man to break the four-minute mile when he clocked 3m 59.4s at a sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954.

Roger Bannister has died at the age of 89 on 3 March in Oxford, England.

"He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends", they added, in a statement published by the Press Association news agency.

After a long and esteemed career analysing brain disorders neurological function, Sir Roger announced he had Parkinson's Disease in a 2014 interview with the BBC. Instead of retiring from the sport, he made a decision to chase the 4-minute mark.

"The only reality was the next 200 yards of track under my feet. The time was 3..."

The current women's record for the mile, 4:12.56 run by Svetlana Masterkova of Russian Federation, is even longer standing, dating to 1996. Bannister burst through to win the gold by crossing the line in 3 minutes and 58.8 seconds.

That set the stage for the showdown between Bannister and Landy at the Empire Games, now called the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 9, 1954.

Four-time Olympic gold medal victor Sir Mo Farah tweeted: "I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Roger Bannister".

He attended schools in London and Bath, proving himself a skilled student and runner and earning a scholarship to Oxford University, where he studied medicine while continuing to shine in mile and 1,500-meter track competitions.

Bannister considered that victory even more satisfying than the first 4-minute mile because it came in a competitive race against his greatest rival. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set the current world record of 3:43.13 on July 7, 1999.

Bannister was born in Harrow England and began to run competitively at the age of 17 in Oxford in 1946.

He was also instrumental in initiating the first testing processes for anabolic steroids while serving as chairman of the British Sports Council in the 1970s.

"His achievement transcended sport, let alone athletics".

Lord Coe, now president of the IAAF, paid tribute to Bannister on Twitter: "This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics. Those are real achievements". He had this aura of being the man who broke the four-minute mile, a pioneer in so many ways.

"There can't be an athlete of my generation, particularly an athlete focusing on middle-distance, that wasn't nearly entirely inspired by what he did".

Bannister returned to Oxford in 1985 to become Master of Pembroke College, a position he held until 1993.

In 1955, he married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist. They had two sons and two daughters and lived in a modest home only minutes away from the track where he made history.

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