Monday, October 18, 2010

Bannister: A Legend

Roger Bannister broke the mystic 4 minute barrier in his mile time during on May 6, 1954.  You can view the historic and sensational event in the video embedded below.

I couldn't find a video with original commentary, or a video of Norris Whirter's famous announcement of Bannister's times, but I did find exactly what he said. He famously "teased" the crowd by drawing out the announcement of Bannister's time:
"Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one mile: 1st, No. 41, R.G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which - subject to ratification - will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was 3..."
After stating that the time started with 3 minutes, the crowd wen berserk and drowned out the rest of Whirter's announcement.  Bannister's time was 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Unfortunately for Bannister, only 46 days later his record was beaten by rival John Landy of Australia, with a time of 3:57.9 (rounded up to 3:58 based on rounding standards).  The track was laid out for a showdown between the first two men to run a mile under 4 minutes.  This came to fruition later that summer on August 27, 1954.

This race, labeled the "Miracle Mile" was also an extremely exciting one.  Watch the video below:

Bannister won the race, but didn't break Landy's record that had been set earlier in the summer.  At 4:42 in the video, you can see Bannister's famous passing of Landy, with Landy looking over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was, and then Bannister bursting past on the right.  In the picture below you can see a better view of what happened - the video is a little grainy.

The moment was immortalized by a larger-than-life bronze statue constructed in Vancouver, BC.
What do you think about Roger Bannister, the 4 minute mile, or anything else I've discussed?  Please feel free to comment with your opinions!


  1. Great videos Luke . Landy did take the world record but thats been beaten many times since. I wonder if Landy would have swopped with Bannister given the chance so that he became the 1st person to break the 4 min mile?

  2. Probably. They were extremely closely matched in terms of ability, but they did have very different styles. Landy went out a little faster, but Bannister had that famous "Bannister Burst".


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