Sports

14 Candid Truths On Roger Bannister

1. Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE is an English former middle-distance athlete, physician and academic, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile.

2. In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres but finished fourth.

3. He achieved this feat on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing.

4. He had reached this record with minimal training, while practising as a junior doctor.

5. Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993.

6. When asked whether the 4-minute mile was his proudest achievement, he said he felt prouder of his contribution to academic medicine through research into the responses of the nervous system.

7. Eight years after setting the mile record and seeing it surpassed during the war years by the great Swedish runners Arne Andersson and Gunder Hägg, Wooderson regained his old form and challenged Andersson over the distance in several races.

8. Wooderson lost to Andersson but set a British record of 4:04.2 in Gothenburg on 9 September.

9. Like Wooderson, Bannister would ultimately set a mile record, see it broken, and then set a new personal best slower than the new record.

10. Bannister started his running career at Oxford in the autumn of 1946 at the age of 17.

11. He had never worn running spikes previously or run on a track.

12. His training was light, even compared to the standards of the day, but he showed promise in running a mile in 1947 in 4:24.6 on only three weekly half-hour training sessions.

13. He was selected as an Olympic “possible” in 1948 but declined as he felt he was not ready to compete at that level.

14. However, he was further inspired to become a great miler by watching the 1948 Olympics.

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