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

Bannister ran three minutes 59.4 seconds at Iffley Road track in Oxford on May 6th 1954

Roger Bannister representing Oxford University in 1948. Photograph: PA

Roger Bannister representing Oxford University in 1948. Photograph: PA

 

Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-four minute mile, has died aged 88, his family have said.

Bannister, aided by Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher as pacemakers, achieved the feat by running three minutes 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track on May 6th 1954.

Bannister, who also won a Commonwealth and European Championship gold medal that year, went on to become a leading neurologist.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011.

A statement from his family said: “Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on March 3rd 2018, 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.”

Lord Coe, who followed in Bannister footstep’s by breaking the mile world record in 1981, paid tribute to an inspirational man.

The president of athletics governing body said on Twitter: “This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics. There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track.”

British Athletics tweeted: “All at British Athletics are incredibly saddened by the passing of Roger Bannister at the age of 88. A legend in every sense of the word.”

The London Marathon posted on Twitter: “For some the word legend doesn’t quite cut it. Rest in peace Roger Bannister.”

British long-distance runner Jo Pavey, a former European champion over 10,000 metres, said Bannister’s feat “showed that barriers could be broken”.

She said on Sky News: “He’s such a great example to all the athletes coming through. He was such a gentleman, so able to give encouragement to all the generations of athletes coming through and he’ll be so sorely missed. He’s left such an amazing legacy in our sport, he was a true hero.”

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