Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, dies at 88
AFP London, UK
Mar 04, 2018, 01.46 PM(IST)
Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954, holds the stop watch used by Harold Abrahams to time the race during 50th-anniversary celebrations at Pembroke College, Oxford.
"He will be greatly missed," she wrote on Twitter.
Despite being famed for breaking the four-minute barrier, Bannister said he felt a greater sense of achievement winning gold at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, beating his great rival Australian John Landy in a race later dubbed the "Miracle Mile".
"I think that racing in the Olympics and Commonwealths is more important than breaking records," Bannister said in 2014.
"Vancouver was the pinnacle of my athletics career. It is very difficult to break records during the Olympic competition, but winning races was better than holding world records."
The current one-mile record has since 1999 been held by Morocco`s Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3:43.13 secs.
But Bannister`s achievement has continued to inspire athletics enthusiasts, with the shoes he wore to break the four-minute barrier selling for a record.
The black-leather pair of shoes sold for £266,500 in September 2015 -- about $409,000 at the exchange rate at the time.
By then Bannister was having trouble walking, let alone running, after revealing he was suffering from Parkinson`s disease.
The condition progressively damages part of the brain over time and is one Bannister was familiar with, even before he was first diagnosed a few years ago, from his lengthy career as the neurologist.
"I am being well looked after and I don`t intend to let it interfere -- as much as I can," he told the BBC in 2014.
"Just consider the alternatives -- that is the way I look at it," he added. "Intellectually I am not (degenerating) and what is walking anyway!"