Mile News

Fab Five Mile Races

August 27, 2019

“I felt I could not have run a more perfect race.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF

The IAAF takes a look back at five unforgettable, historic races over the classic Mile distance.

1954 – Oxford, England

Roger Bannister’s Mile world record may have only lasted a mere 46 days but his place in history is assured after becoming the first man to run a sub-4 minute Mile at the Iffley Road track in Oxford.

One year after Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to climb Mt. Everest, Bannister, an Oxford medical student, scaled sport’s own version of the famous Himalayan peak by running 3:59.4.

Paced to perfection by Chris Chataway and future Olympic steeplechase champion Chris Brasher, Bannister, 25, came home with a 59-second final lap to take the world record and achieve what many had believed to be an impossible barrier.

1954 – Commonwealth Games – Vancouver, Canada

One of the most eagerly anticipated Mile clashes in history pitched Roger Bannister, who earlier that year became the first man to crack the 4-minute barrier, up against Australian John Landy who six-and-half weeks later surpassed the Briton’s world record time by 1.4 seconds.

In the race which became known as “The Miracle Mile”, the front-running Landy built up a near 15 meter lead only for Bannister to slowly reel in the tiring Australian.

On the final bend Landy momentarily glanced inwards over his opposite shoulder to check his position only for Bannister to sweep past him on his outside at that precise moment. The Englishman secured gold in 3:58.8 – 0.8 clear of his Australian rival – in what was the first Mile race in history in which two men smashed through the 4-minute barrier.

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Tags: roger bannister (175) , marty liquori (32) , john walker (33) , john landy (35) , jim ryun (93) , hicham el guerrouj (16) , dream mile (39)

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