Runner Roger Bannister Achieves the Impossible

The sub-four minute mile is now an achievement the world sees as an everyday occurrence for any runner who considers himself among the track elite.  But prior to the efforts of a British medical student named Roger Bannister, the sub-four minute mile was widely regarded as impossible.  In fact, many thought that death would be the result of anyone pushing their body to the extremes it took to run that fast for that long…

Roger Bannister thought otherwise.  Between his busy schedule of med student classes at the demanding Oxford University, Bannister would do his even more demanding track workouts to get in the shape necessary to set a world record.  After a hard bout of morning classes he would hit the track with scientific purpose running precisely calculated times and distances.  After that, it was back to the grind of his hellish academic agenda.

On May 6, 1954 the gangly 25 year old’s exhausting work load of the previous several months was vindicated.  In front of a small crowd on a cold windy day, Roger Bannister ran a 3:59.4 minute mile.  It had all paid off.  Bannister had proved the critics wrong and opened the door for modern distance running as we know it.  Just three years later, 16 different runners had broken the 4 minute mark.  As great sports heroes often do, Bannister had overcome what people told him he could not do and changed the face of the sports world.

Newport Beach, California born and raised, Alex Crawford currently attends Oregon State University where he is majoring in New Media Communications.  Alex is the host of a sports talk radio show on the OSU radio station KBVR and someday hopes to have a career in film or television.

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