Roger Bannister: First man to run sub-four minute mile, dies aged 88

Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister breaks the record, running a sub-four minute mile. Source: Getty

Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, has died aged 88.

His family announced his passing on Sunday, the BBC reports.

His family said in a statement: “Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3 March, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them. He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.”

Sir Roger shot to fame in 1954 when, aged 25, he ran a mile in just 59.4 seconds at Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford. Although his record was broken a mere 46 days later, he had cemented his place in history.

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The now-iconic photo of Sir Roger crossing the finishing line was splashed over front pages of newspapers around the world, ensuring no one would forget the softly spoken Englishman anytime soon.

Just months after his historic world record, he won gold over the same distance at the 1954 Commonwealth Games.

Despite his record-breaking pace on the track, Bannister’s real passion was medicine and he went on to become leading neurologist and Master of Pembroke College at Oxford University.

He established his own medical practice and was eventually appointed director of National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London.

In 1975, he was awarded a knighthood for his achievements and was later bestowed with the Companion of Honour by the Duke of Cambridge.

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After a long and esteemed career analysing brain disorders neurological function, Sir Roger announced he had Parkinson’s Disease in a 2014 interview with the BBC.

“I have seen, and looked after, patients with so many neurological and other disorders that I am not surprised I have acquired an illness,” he said at the time.

“It’s in the nature of things, there’s a gentle irony to it.”

He is survived by his wife Moyra and their three children Clive, Thurstan and Erin.

Do you remember Sir Roger Bannister?