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Four-minute mile runner Roger Bannister dies aged 88

4th March, 2018
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British athlete Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, has died aged 88.

Bannister became the first man to break the four-minute mile when he clocked three minutes 59.4 seconds at a sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954.

British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes to the former athlete.

“Sir Roger Bannister was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed,” she said on Twitter.

His family said Bannister died peacefully.

“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,” a family statement said.

“He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.”

The Briton, who also set a British record on route to the 1500 metres final at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, was helped by pacesetters Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher during his record-breaking run.

Australian John Landy surpassed Bannister’s record just a month later with a time of 3:57.9.

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Bannister also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver later that year before retiring from athletics to pursue medical studies full-time.

He became a neurologist and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011.

IAAF president and dual Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe also paid tribute.

“On the 6 May 1954, Roger made the impossible possible,” said Coe in quotes on the IAAF website.

“One year after the coronation of a young Queen Elizabeth II and after man conquered Everest, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile with the help of his friends Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher.

“His achievement transcended sport, let alone athletics. It was a moment in history that lifted the heart of a nation and boosted morale in a world that was still at a low ebb after the war.

“We have all lost a giant and, for many of us, a deep and close friendship.”