Roger Bannister, first to run mile under 4 minutes, dies at 88

Credit Associated Press

Roger Bannister, the United Kingdom athlete who as a medical student six decades ago became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes, has died, the BBC reported.

A statement released on behalf of Sir Roger's family said: "Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3rd March 2018, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them". They say his death was peaceful and we was with his family at the time.

In 1999, the record for the fastest mile was lowered to the time of 3 minutes 43.13 seconds, run by by Hicham El Guerrouj (pronounced el gah-roodge) of Morocco.

With pacing help from teammates Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, Bannister ran the first lap in 57.5 seconds, the next two in a little over a minute each. "The first person you're taught to look up to is Roger Bannister".

To Coe, another British world record holder at the mile, Bannister's landmark achievement in 1954 "transcended sport beyond athletics".

Bannister, who was knighted in 1975, went on to a career as a neurologist and watched through the years as other runners ran ever-swifter miles.

"Every athlete owes a great debt of gratitude to Sir Roger Bannister", Johnson told the BBC."He set up the idea for athletes of pushing the limits of human achievement, like (long jumper) Bob Beamon went on to do". He was a boy who "just ran anywhere and everywhere - never because it was an end in itself, but because it was easier for me to run than to walk", Bannister wrote in "The First Four Minutes", his 1995 memoir.

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The 1,500-meter race is usually run instead of the mile in global competition.

Australian Landy led for most of the race but Bannister passed him on the final bend and won the race by almost a second, both men going under four minutes and Bannister running a career-best 3:58.8.

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson's United Kingdom said: "We're very saddened to hear of the death of Sir Roger Bannister". "My medical work has been my achievement and my family with 14 grandchildren".

Coe ran a mile in a world record 3 minutes, 47.33 seconds in 1981 between winning gold medals in the 1,500 meters at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track".

Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University, said: "My wife and I were very sad to hear about Roger Bannister's death".

In 1955, he married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist. Chataway died in 2014 at 82.

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