‘sup, it’s ur boy Benny, dropping in with the sadness today.
Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CH, CBE passed away yesterday at the age of 88. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. Sir Roger was the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes.
The following statement was released by the Bannister family:
“Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3 March, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them.
“He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.”
Bannister’s groundbreaking run of three minutes 59.4 seconds, was set at Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford on 6 May 1954. Although it only stood as a record for just 46 days his place in athletics history is with the immortals.
Amazingly Bannister viewed running as something to be done in his spare time away from the demands of his medical studies at the University of Oxford. Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford before retiring in 1993. He often commented that he was much more proud of his contributions in academic medicine than he was of his sub 4 minute mile.
We here at HTTA are as guilty of recency bias as anyone. For goodness sake every team/player who does anything of note we rush to wonder if they are the greatest of all time? Every triple double in the NBA gets 20 minute screaming heads segments on how many Fire emojis it should get. Bill Simmons just gave us 40,000 words on the historical context of a very good 10 game stretch by The Brow. But let’s not forget what Sir Roger did. Nobody thought that humans could run a sub 4 min mile, and then they could. Sir Roger’s achievement was basically the athletic equivalent of the moon landing.
For more historical context, the current mile world record is held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3:43.13. With all of the advancements in athletic training, science and technology (which by the way Bannister made major contributions to with his medical studies and training methods), they have only shaved 16 seconds off the pace set by a guy running to keep fit between classes at Oxford. In the world of running Sir Roger rewrote the standards and altered the idea of what was even possible.
HTTA’s Thoughts and Prayers are with the Bannister Family.
Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CH, CBE, dead at 88. God Speed and may he Rest In Peace.