One of the most iconic sporting moments in history, Bannister had intended to retire after the 1952 Olympics, but having only come in 4th in the 1500m final, hung on for another two years to make an attempt on the holy grail of middle distance running, the four minute mile. Knowing that two other milers had the same intent – John Landy of Australia and Wes Santee of the USA- Bannister ran very early in the season at Iffley Road in Oxford, and, paced by his old friends Brasher and Chataway, came home under the magical time, taking 2 seconds off of Gunder Hägg’s nine year old mile WR. Amazingly after all the hype the record only stood for six weeks,when John Landy ran 3.57.9 in Finland. Bannister then went on that season to defeat Landy in the “Mile of the Century”in the Empire Games,before winning the European 1500m title and then retiring from the sport, aged 25.
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