First man in history to run "four minute mile" dies at 88

First man in history to run

Roger Bannister, who has died aged 88, will live forever in the annals of athletics history as the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

Bannister's 3:59:4 stood as the record for less than two months, until Australian John Landy ran a mile in 3:57.9 in Finland.

British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes to the former athlete, who later became one of Europe's leading neurologists and was made a knight.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.

"He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends", they added, in a statement published by the Press Association news agency. He had this aura of being the man who broke the four-minute mile, a pioneer in so many ways.

"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track".

Shortly before 6 p.m.in Oxford, the wind died down.

"The first book I read was (Bannister's book) The Four-Minute Mile; my coach (Jimmy Hedley) used to get me to sit and watch that grainy film in the days before YouTube", said Cram.

The current one-mile record has since 1999 been held by Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3:43.13 secs.

At the time, Bannister was a full-time medical student and had to juggle his studies with his training.

Bannister's family confirmed his death, the BBC said on Sunday.

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He also wanted to deliver something special for his country.

While he will forever be remembered for his running, Bannister said he considered his contributions to neurology more satisfying.

"Around the last bend, I think the crowd was making so much noise he couldn't hear whether I was behind, or whether he'd dropped me, and he looked over his left shoulder, and I passed him on his right shoulder", Bannister said. Initially as a young athlete it was about my training and what I was doing and in later years we'd talk sometimes around what was going on in the world of athletics and he was always interested in training techniques, altitude training, why we were running quicker and faster. "There was a feeling of patriotism".

"But beyond that, he was part of that pioneering spirit which seemed to exist in the 1950s - with a new Queen on the throne, Everest being conquered, the new TV age and the idea that you could do anything you put your mind to in barrier-breaking".

Half a century later after Bannister's record, the Royal Mint celebrated the occasion by issuing a 50 pence coin showing an athlete's running legs against a stopwatch.

Sweden's Gunder Hagg came tantalizingly close to breaking the 4-minute mile in 1945, when he ran 4:01.4.

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

Bannister capped his brilliant summer of 1954 by winning the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, in a games record of 3:43.8. Among other things, he developed the first test for anabolic steroids as chairman of the Sports Council from 1971 to 1974.

Oxford University elected him Master (head) of its Pembroke College in 1985. In 2012, he edited the ninth edition of a textbook on nervous-system disease.

In 1955, he married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist.

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