South Africa Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Its First Sub-4 Minute Mile
De Villiers Lamprecht clocks 3:59.7 on November 13, 1964; 16th country overall with a sub-4
By Alec Basson, Stellenbosch University
It has been 50 years since former Matie athlete De Villiers Lamprecht on November 13, 1964 became the first South African (16th country) to run a dream Mile, 1609 meters, in under 4 minutes, clocking 3:59.7. He accomplished this remarkable feat 10 years after British athlete, Roger Bannister, ran the first dream Mile in the world.
Lamprecht, who was also the first athlete in the world to run a sub-4 minute Mile barefoot, would break the magical 4 minute barrier five times.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first South African dream Mile, a function was held on Thursday (November 13) at Stellenbosch's Coetzenburg Athletics Stadium where Lamprecht immortalized himself in the annals of South African sports.
Lamprecht could not be present and was represented by his son Stiaan who thanked Maties Athletics for the anniversary function on his father's behalf.
Referring to an earlier telephone conversation with Lamprecht, Mr. Wium Mostert, Honorary President of Maties Athletics, said he planned to break sub-4 and the South African record on that particular evening in 1964.
Mr. Gerhard Roux, who commentated when Lamprecht ran the sub-4 minute Mile, described how perfect the evening was and how the crowd chanted "Div, Div, Div," during the final lap.
Since Lamprecht, to-date, 58 South African athletes have clocked a dream Mile.
Continue reading at: www.sun.ac.za
NOTE: In 1970 on the same day, Lamprecht added to his legend by running the fastest barefoot Mile ever with his 3:57.7 in Stellenbosch. #Barefooting!
NOTE II: Eight months earlier, on March 19, 1964 in Durban, South Africa, legend Peter Snell of New Zealand recorded the first sub-4 minute Mile on African soil, clocking 3:59.6.