May-6-1954: Roger Bannister Runs the “Miracle Mile”

On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old British medical student, ran a “Miracle Mile” – the first under four minutes.  Though Bannister’s record of 3:59.4 lasted just 46 days,his run is consider iconic for breaking what was considered an unbreakable barrier.

Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993.

A decade later, future Congressman Jim Ryun became the last American to hold the record when he ran a 3:51.1 mile in 1967.

Today, the world record stands at 3:43.13 set by Moroccan Hicham el Guerrouj in 1999.

The mile has largely been replaced by the 1,500 meter run in international competition. Hicham el Guerrouj holds that record as well with a time of 3:26.00 in 1998 (which if the same pace were applied to a mile would yield a time of 3:41.04).



Sir Roger Bannister has died at the age of 88.  Tributes have poured in for the great British runner and neurosurgeon.

Including one from one Britain’s greatest runners who also held the record multiple times – the last one at 3:47:33.


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