Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: 6th May 2014...60th anniversary of the first sub 4 minute mile

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

6th May 2014...60th anniversary of the first sub 4 minute mile

On the 6th of May 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile for the very first time. Running on a cinder track in Oxford, it remains to this day one of the most iconic moments of athletics history.

Back in the early 50's, there were a number of middle distance runners who had ran close to the 4 minute barrier but many considered it impossible to break. In a subsequent interview, Bannister said..."There was no logic in my mind that if you can run a mile in 4 minutes, 1 and 2/5ths, you can't run it in 3:59. I knew enough medicine and physiology to know it wasn't a physical barrier, but I think it had become a psychological barrier."

As for the race itself.......Bannister had lined up English runners Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway as pacemakers. He tucked in behind Brasher, a steeplechaser, who ran the first lap in 58 seconds and the first half-mile in 1:58. Chataway moved to the front and took them through three laps in 3:01. Bannister would have to run the final lap in 59 seconds.

His long arms and legs pumping, his lungs gasping for oxygen, he surged in front of Chataway with about 300 yards to go. "I then went flat out for the finishing line, and just about managed to stagger over it," he said. "I couldn't stand at the end."

The chief timekeeper was Harold Abrahams, the 100-meter champion at the 1924 Paris Olympics whose story inspired the film "Chariots of Fire." He handed a piece of paper to Norris McWhirter, who announced the time: "3...". "That was when the crowd exploded and we didn't hear any more," Bannister said. "It didn't matter what the rest was."

The record didn't stand for long however. Six weeks later, John Landy of Australia ran 3:57.9 in Turku, Finland. The current record stands at 3:43.13, held by Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj since 1999. Bannister would lower his own record to 3:58.8 in Vancouver in 1954.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary, Farranfore Maine-Valley AC are holding a series of one mile races on Tuesday evening the 6th of May 2014 in Farranfore, Co.Kerry. More info on the Running in Munster site.


Grellan said...

Close on 60 years since Everest was conquered also. Since then there have been more people on top of Everest than have run a sub-4 minute mile (courtesy of Seb Coe)

Finbar Kingston said...

Excellent video great to watch it,you can feel the excitement just by watching it.