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Roger Bannister Reflects On His Mile Record

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 6, 2012
  • Updated Mar. 6, 2012 at 10:09 AM UTC
Roger Bannister is a living legend. Photo: Reuters

He made running history 58 years ago.

Even though it’s been more than half a century since Sir Roger Bannister shocked the world by becoming the first human to break 4:00 for the mile, it still feels like yesterday to him.

Bannister, now 82, completed the feat on the cinder track in Oxford, England in 1954.

His record-setting time was three minutes, 59.4 seconds.

“It’s amazing,” says Bannister of the record, “that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have broken the 4-minute mile.”

Surprisingly, Bannister never won an Olympic medal. At the 1952 Helsinki Games, he came in fourth place in the 1500m event. Besides running, Bannister was an accomplished neurologist.

Bannister might be chosen to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies in London this summer.

However, he downplayed the notion. “I think it should be somebody representing youth,” he said. “Can’t answer.”

“There will be no shortage of candidates given the Olympic history in the UK,” London Olympic Committe Chairman Sebastian Coe said. “I’m sure Roger’s name will be in the mix, but we have not even remotely begun to consider the decision of who will light the cauldron.”

For More: Super Sport

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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