SIR ROGER BANNISTER CH, CBE 23 March 1929 – 3 March 2018
Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile, has died at the age of 88.
He was an extraordinary and truly inspirational man. While working full-time as a junior doctor, he did what many had said was physiologically impossible when he became the first man to run under four minutes for the mile.
On 6 May 1954, at the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, paced by Chris Brasher – who, of course, went on to co-found the London Marathon – and Chris Chataway, Bannister made history as he clocked 3:59.4 for the mile.
This trio of world renowned athletes were lifelong friends who all achieved quite extraordinary things in their later lives.
Roger went on to be a distinguished neurologist and the Master of Pembroke College, Oxford. He was the first Chairman of the Sports Council (now called Sport England) and he initiated the first testing processes for anabolic steroids. He was knighted in 1975.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events Ltd, said: “Roger was quite simply a wonderful man. His achievement in becoming the first person to run under four minutes for a mile is one of the greatest sporting achievements of the 20th century. His style and grace on a track was a joy to see and he inspired a generation of runners to achieve that holy grail of middle distance running. He left an incredible legacy in both medicine and sport.
“Roger was the last of an extraordinary trio from a generation that achieved remarkable things. Roger, Chris Chataway and my father Chris Brasher were very close friends and I have known him all my life. Roger and Chris were best men at each other’s weddings.
“Everyone in the London Marathon family mourns his passing and we send our condolences to Moyra, his children and grandchildren.”