On 6th May 1954, 25 year old medical student Roger Bannister recorded the first sub four minute mile. His time of 3mins 59.4 seconds was achieved as he represented the Amateur Athletic Association in the annual match against Oxford university at the Iffley Road track in Oxford.
The race was carefully planned with co-runners Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway setting the pace between them until with about 200 yards to go Bannister took the lead and dashed for the line, collapsing exhaustedly into the arms of a friend at the finish. The myth of the barrier of the 4 minute mile had been created by sports writers as the world record had stood for 9 years, partly due to the war, at 1.4 seconds higher. The current record set on 7th July 1999 at 3 minutes 43.13 seconds by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco is now approaching 10 years unbeaten.
Bannister’s record was to last just 46 days before being beaten by his arch rival John Landy of Australia at an event in Finland. The two men raced head to head that August in the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver with Bannister winning by 0.8 of a second. Bannister retired later that year to concentrate on his studies to become a doctor which he successfully completed and then enjoyed a distinguished career as a neurologist. He became chairman of the Sports Council and was knighted in 1975.
Why not set your dolls house up for the 55th anniversary of the famous record with a knitted jogging set or a jogging sweatshirt?