Bannister's historic sub-4-minute mile captured in new memoir
Published Saturday, May 10, 2014 10:28PM EDT
A former athlete who ran the "Miracle Mile" race more than five decades ago has a new memoir detailing one of the most celebrated moments in sports history: breaking the four-minute mile barrier.
In his new book titled "Twin Tracks," Roger Bannister talks about the three minutes and 59.4 seconds that have since gone down in the annals of sporting history.
"All I could do was just run as fast and as hard as I could," Bannister told CTV News about the record-breaking race in Oxford, England, when he became the first person to run a mile race in under four minutes.
"It got painful towards the end. The tape almost seemed to recede as I approached it. I just managed to finish," the now-85-year-old said.
Bannister, who had participated in the Helsinki Olympics two years prior, ran the race on a blustery spring day on May 6, 1954. The then-lanky medical student had achieved what many had considered humanely impossible.
"I was able to break a world record in 1954 on the basis of half an hour of running -- quite severe training and hard running but only for half an hour, five days a week," Bannister said.
Bannister's time was eventually lowered by Australian runner John Landy, who ran a mile in three minutes and 57.9 seconds. The two rivals then went head-to-head months later in the "Miracle Mile" race at the Empire Games in Vancouver.
Bannister, who later became a neurologist, beat Landy on the final bend. He won the race with a time of three minutes and 58.8 seconds.
Sixty years on, Bannister’s fabled feat of being the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes continues to inspire athletes.
"All the middle-distance runners, all the milers, myself…we’ve always referred to him as the senior partner," former British Olympian Sebastien Coe said of Bannister.
He was eventually knighted Sir Roger Bannister in 1975, years after he had retired as a professional athlete.
Last Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary since Bannister, who now suffers from Parkinson's disease, ran the sub-four-minute mile.
His accomplishment will be celebrated on May 24 during London, U.K.'s Bupa Westminster Mile. The race is being billed as the world’s largest timed road mile of 2014.
With a report from CTV News' London Bureau Chief Ben O'Hara Byrne