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Sixty years ago today, on May 6, 1954, U.K. runner Roger Bannister did something no man had ever done - run a mile in under four minutes. While many men have been able to do it since, the moment is still a milestone for the sport.
Bannister was 25 when he ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds on an Oxford track in four laps. He is now 85 and was knighted in 1975. According to NBC Sports, he was named Sports Illustrated’s first Sportsman of the Year, proving how both sides of the Atlantic were impressed by his feat.
“It was a target,” Bannister told the Associated Press recently. He later added, “It was just something which caught the public's imagination. I think it still remains something that is of interest and intrigue.”
Bannister has lived a long life and went on to pursue a career in neurology. He now suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has not been able to run since the ‘70s. He requires a wheelchair outside of his home.
Since his run, over 1,000 runners have run a mile in under four minutes. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set the current mark in 1999 when he ran a mile in 3:43.13.
Still, Bannister’s run will be in the history books as the first and, with the entire run available on YouTube, it will not be forgotten anytime soon.