Two related events recently took place. The first was the passing of my uncle Paul, the second the decision of Sir Roger Bannister to auction the shoes in which he broke every record and ran the first mile under 4 minutes. My uncle Paul was at Exeter College Oxford, with Roger Bannister in May 1954 when the race was run. I wrote to Sir Roger and received a charming reply that he remembered my uncle as “a public spirited member of college”.
It’s interesting talking to Polly and her best friend Grania, 2 accomplished runners, that whilst the names of some of the legendary athletes of the past like Emil Zatopek who won an Olympic gold at his first attempt at a marathon are unknown to them, there is one record that they and every athlete – indeed virtually everyone -knows, namely the breaking of the 4 minute mile.
I can do do no better in celebrating this record than to refer the reader to a video of an interview that Sir Roger describing the shoes and the event itself – BANNISTER SHOES