By Arachne


This is the Iffley Road running track where Roger Bannister become the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes, on 6 May 1954. Lots of people have heard of this arbitrary record and there is a sign on the fence commemorating it. What very few people know is that it was only 46 days later that someone ran a mile faster. Who? No idea. By then it was just another under-four-minute mile. 

But at least he had his priorities right. When asked whether the four-minute mile was his proudest achievement, he said he felt prouder of his contribution to medicine through research into the nervous system. 

In 1993 I had to represent the organisation I worked for at a formal event at Pembroke College, Oxford, of which he was then the Master. I couldn't have been more nervous at the prospect of meeting him but he was absolutely lovely.

Extra: a bit more night.

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