May 27, 2009

Running Healthy

Roger Bannister is the first man in history to run a mile in less than four minutes. On the magic day, May 6, 1954, Bannister almost scrapped the whole run. It was windy and he preferred to save his energy for another run when the wind wouldn’t ruin his time, but the winds died down and Roger consented to race. When the announcer took the mic to tell the excited stadium what the final time was, he purposely drew out the announcement as long as possible to tease the masses. When he finally said, “3. . .” the crowd went nuts and drowned out the rest of the result, which was 3:59.4.

He only held the record for six weeks. Aussie John Landy surpassed the sub-four-mile mark by just a sliver (3:57.9). On August 7 of the same year.

Bannister got his chance to win the title back when he and Landy faced off at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Although Landy led for the majority of the race, Bannister came up with his famous “Bannister Burst” in the last quarter of the race and sped past Landy to win. Landy ended up retaining the record anyway: they both came in at times slower than Landy’s previous 3:57.9. The current record of 3:43.13 was set by Hicham el Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999. Wow! 45 years and about 15 seconds faster.