sports centre on Iffley Road [map] offers Oxford students the
opportunity to participate in a great number of sporting
events including football and hockey, but
it also has its own place in history as the place where Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile.
Bannister said of the event, some years later: “I
felt at that moment that it was my chance to do something
supremely well,” but no one could have envisaged
just how well he would do as he propelled himself and
the sports ground itself into the Guinness Book of
Roger Bannister was born in Harrow, Middlesex in 1929,
and he enjoyed youthful success as a runner at regional
In 1946, Bannister went to Oxford University to
study medicine. He devoted all his spare time to the track
and became an accomplished middle distance runner. The
fascination at the time for all middle distance men was
the four-minute mile.
Basically, it was widely assumed that running under the
four-minute mile was impossible for a human being. Bannister
believed it was possible, and used his knowledge as a
physician to give him as much help as possible. He painstakingly
researched mechanical aspects of running, and developed
scientific training methods to aid him.
At Iffley Road Roger Bannister realised his dream in 1954
when he, along with two pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, ran to victory and recorded a time
of three minutes and 59.4 seconds.
A place in the record books was secured for Bannister
and although the record was broken two months later by John Landy, Bannister was later to beat Landy to
decide who the best mile runner was. Bannister was, again,