Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Man Who Was So Much More Than a Single, Astonishing Race; the Death Was Announced Yesterday of Sir Roger Bannister, the Man Who Ran the First Sub-Four-Minute Mile. GUY ASPIN Looks Back at an Amazing Life

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Man Who Was So Much More Than a Single, Astonishing Race; the Death Was Announced Yesterday of Sir Roger Bannister, the Man Who Ran the First Sub-Four-Minute Mile. GUY ASPIN Looks Back at an Amazing Life

Article excerpt

SIR Roger Bannister, who has died at the age of 88, gave sport one of its most cherished moments by running the first sub-fourminute mile, made medical breakthroughs as a distinguished neurologist and served as the first chairman of the Sports Council.

He was one of Great Britain's bestloved and most-respected sporting figures, best remembered for his feat one spring day in Oxford in 1954 when he conquered a challenge regarded at the time as beyond the limit of human endurance.

That race on May 6 when Bannister, then a 25-year-old medical student, ran the mile in three minutes 59.4 seconds wrote his name into the record books.

Australia's John Landy in a race dubbed the 'Miracle Mile', while he viewed his academic achievements in neurology as greater than his exploits on the track.

Born in Harrow in London on March 23, 1929 and educated at City of Bath Boys' School, Bannister opted not to compete at the 1948 Olympics in London as he felt he was not ready.

He went to Helsinki four years later with hopes of a medal, but could only finish fourth over 1500 metres.

Bannister turned his attention to becoming the first man to run the mile in under four minutes.

It was such a symbolic mark - four minutes for four laps - but attempts to break it were defied time after time. The closest anyone had managed was 4.01.4 from Sweden's Gunder Hagg back in 1945.

The race which would make Bannister a national hero took place in front of an expectant 3,000-strong crowd at Oxford University's Iffley Road cinder track.

He was supported by pacemakers Sir Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher.

Brasher led them through the first quarter mile in 57.3 and halfway in 1:58. Then Chataway moved to the front and kept up the pace to go through the three-quarter mile mark in three minutes 0.4 seconds.

With little more than half a lap remaining Bannister burst past Chataway and kicked for the line, using the last of his energy to run through it before falling into the arms of his friend, the Rev Nicholas Stacey.

The result came from stadium announcer Norris McWhirter, who said: "Result of Event Eight: One mile. …

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