Bannister Miles – May 6th 2024 – Iffley Road Oxford

Iffley Road Track 6th May 1954, the crowd waits in anticipation as the athletes in the men’s one mile line up on the start line. Among them is young medical student Roger Bannister and his pacers, friends and soon to be household names, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher. The occasion, a match between the Amateur Athletic Association and Oxford University Athletic Club. Roger Bannister has targeted this race for an attempt to become the first ever person to run a sub four-minute mile. It is a quest that has captured the imagination of the world in the post war period as the world’s best milers vied for the historic honour. Passing the ¾ mile mark in 3:01 Bannister hit the back straight and strode out. It was painful and he forced himself through the remaining yards and down the home straight feeling that the ‘tape was receding’. In the pre-electronic timing days, stopwatches had to be compared and a wait ensued before the time was announced by Norris McWhirter, founder of The Guinness Book of Records, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event number nine, the one mile. First, number 41, R.G. Bannister of the Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, with a time that is a new meeting and track record, and which, subject to ratification, will be a new English Native, British National, British All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time is three…’, cheers erupted, and the four-minute barrier was broken, history had been made!

 

In conjunction with the family of Sir Roger Bannister and the Oxford University Athletic Club, the BMC is delighted to offer an exciting opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this historic achievement.

Hosted at the iconic Iffley Road Track, on May 6th, 2024, a series of mile races will be held. The men’s A race will go off at the exact same time as the famous race 70 years before. On the 50th anniversary in 2004, World Champion Sonia O’Sullivan set a BMC women’s record of 4:27.79. In 2024 who can better the times of Sir Roger and Sonia?

Right – 2004, Roger Bannister presents to Craig Mottram, Mo Farah and John Mayock 

Sir Roger was a great promoter of ‘Sport for All’ and in this spirit the day’s program will not be limited to elite races. It would be tremendous to see as many BMC members there as possible and to have multiple men’s and women’s races. Included in the schedule will also be para races, allowing for athletes of all abilities to compete together on the same day. We will have U17 and U15 races where athletes will compete for the Frank Horwill trophy named after the BMC founder, and the Peter Coe trophy which remembers the coach and father of world mile record holder Sebastian Coe. A mass participation mile through the centre of Oxford and finishing at Iffley Road will also be held in the morning, allowing anyone, not matter what ability, to run on the day.

ENTRIES OPEN HERE

For further information please feel free to contact race directors Tom.Barrett and Thomas Renshaw

Painting of Sir Roger Bannister setting the 4-minute-mile. The surround is signed by subsequent World Record Holders.

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan

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