Roger Bannister, First to Run Sub Four-Minute Mile, Dies at 88

Roger Bannister: First man to run sub-four minute mile, dies aged 88

Sir Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile, has died 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.

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. In 2011 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Using training techniques including fell running and periodization similar to those later used by Arthur Lydiard, Bannister, spurred on by the knowledge that Australian John Landy had the same goal, devoted himself to his task.

UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger, a rowing Olympic gold medallist for Team GB at London 2012, said: "This is a very sad day but it gives us the opportunity to reflect on a great life".

Previously for nine years, Swedish runner Gundar Haegg had the mile record of 4:01.4.

"The world's best runners had been attempting the four-minute barrier for a quarter of a century". Bannister's assault allowed mankind to enter a world filled with new possibilities.

"None of my athletics was the greatest achievement", he said.

"His achievement was a moment in history that lifted the hearts of a nation and boosted the morale of a world still at a low ebb after the war".

"It's clearly a massive loss for our sport and for many, many of us that would consider ourselves to have been friends with Roger", Coe told Press Association Sport.

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Four-time Olympic gold medal victor Sir Mo Farah tweeted: "I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Roger Bannister. I wanted to be a great British miler following in his footsteps". He met with Sir Roger Bannister several times in the years before his death.

Paula Radcliffe posted: "Saddened to hear the news that we have lost one of the true pioneers, trailblazers and iconic inspirations of our sport".

A giant of athletics, Sir Roger Bannister will be deeply missed by the running community.

The 1952 Olympics were hard for Bannister as a 1,500m semifinals favoured runners with more endurance than him.

"What he did do, he left this massive, massive legacy". As chairman of the Sports Council between 1971 and 1974, he developed the first test for anabolic steroids.

"When we joined our athletics clubs, Roger Bannister was the person that they were talking about. A legend in every sense of the word".

His race triumph happened on May 6, 1954 - and now he's sadly passed away at the age of 88 on March 3, 2018.

Bannister was chosen as Sports Illustrated's first Sportsman of the Year in 1954.

No female athlete has ever cracked the four-minute mile.

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