Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, (born March 23, 1929) is an English former athlete, doctor and academic, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile.
In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres, but did not win the medal he expected. This humiliation strengthened his resolve to be the first 4-minute miler.
This was finally achieved on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer declared “The time was three…”, the cheers of the crowd drowned-out the details of the result, which was 3 min 59.4 sec.
Bannister’s record only lasted 46 days. More notable was that he had reached this record with so little training, while practicing as a junior doctor.
Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College at the University of Oxford, before retiring in 1993. When asked whether the 4-minute mile was his proudest achievement, he said he felt prouder of his contribution to academic medicine through research into the responses of the nervous system. Bannister is patron of The MSA Trust. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011.