Sixty years ago today, May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute mile by running the four laps of Oxford’s Iffley Road track in a time of 3:59.4.
When one considers that the busy medical student lacked the sophisticated training of today’s elite athletes, ran that race on a speed-killing cinder track, and could usually spare just 45 minutes a day to train, that accomplishment seems even more extraordinary. Bannister became a neurologist when his track career ended, and later became Sir Roger Bannister after being knighted by the queen in 1975.
Recently, Bannister discolosed in a radio interview that he was diagnosed two years ago with Parkinson's Disease, but he remains active as a walker and in good spirits. Here is a good account of the famous race.
One of the highlights (if not the highliight) of my trip to England many years ago was taking a run on the Iffley Road Track where Bannister made running history. It has since been renamed in his honor, and if you ever get a chance to visit Oxford, by all means take a lap (or four) on that piece of hallowed ground.