VITALTY WESTMINSTER MILE and BRITISH MILERS CLUB combine to set Sub-Four challenge in 70th anniversary year of Bannister’s famous achievement

 

The 70th anniversary of the historic first sub-four minute mile will be celebrated at this year’s Vitality Westminster Mile on Saturday 21 September with two British Milers Club (BMC) races to showcase the UK’s current generation of middle-distance talent.

This month marks 70 years since Roger Bannister became the first man to achieve the holy grail of middle-distance athletics and run inside four minutes for the mile at Iffley Road, Oxford. Helped by his illustrious pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, Bannister ran the four laps of the track in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Since then 259 British men have emulated Bannister’s achievement and run under four minutes for the mile on the track but no one has managed to repeat the feat on the roads at Britain’s most iconic mile road race, the Vitality Westminster Mile, with Chris O’Hare coming closest in 2019 when he ran 4:01.

With the help of the BMC, the cream of British men’s endurance running will be offered the chance to change that on Saturday 21 September. Pacemakers will be employed to give the field the best chance to run a sub-four minute mile around the historic loop of St James’s Park.

The BMC women’s race will also have pacemakers with the aim of running inside 4:20.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events (organisers of the Vitality Westminster Mile) and son of Chris Brasher, said: “Sir Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier for the mile is one of British sports most iconic and enduring achievements. It is also something that holds particular significance for me as my father was one of Sir Roger’s pacemakers and helped him to achieve something that people said at the time was impossible.

“We are very excited to partner with the British Milers Club to mark the 70th anniversary of this historic achievement with a pair or races at this year’s Vitality Westminster Mile that will showcase the current rich generation of middle-distance talent here in the UK. Nobody has yet managed to break four minutes around the famous St James’s Park course and it would be a fitting tribute to Sir Roger’s achievement if that were to change on Saturday 21 September.”

The Vitality Westminster Mile is open to BMC members aiming for faster than 4:40 men or 5:24 women. To enter and for more information, click here.

There will be prize money available for for first (£1,000), second (£500) and third (£250) in the men’s and women’s race with a bonus of £250 for the first man that runs inside four minutes and the first woman that can run faster than 4:20.

The Vitality Westminster Mile was launched by London Marathon Events in partnership with Westminster City Council in 2013 as a legacy event from the 2012 Olympic Games. It includes miles for all ages and abilities, including families, adults and veterans, juniors, elite athletes and wheelchair users. To enter one of the mass participation events, visit vitalitywestminstermile.co.uk

The event is completely free for under 11s, £7 for ages 11 to 17 and just £10 for adults. Westminster residents are eligible for a £5 discount.


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Tim Brennan

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