Roger Bannister Biography

(The First Athlete to Run a Mile in Less Than Four Minutes)

Birthday: March 23, 1929 (Aries)

Born In: Harrow, England

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE was a former English athlete, academic and neurologist. He is famous as the athlete who ran the first sub-four-minute-mile. He secured a scholarship to Oxford and there he started his professional training for running. Bannister participated in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki and set a British record in the 1500 meters, but failed to win a medal. He was disappointed but he came back stronger, becoming the first 4-minute miler. In 1954, he made history at the age of 25 by breaking the record of completing the first three quarter-mile laps in less than three minutes and the last lap in less than a minute (3:59:4). Bannister was the Director of the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, London, and was also a trustee-delegate of St. Mary's Hospital Medical School.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In March

Also Known As: Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister

Died At Age: 88


Spouse/Ex-: Moyra Jacobsson

children: Charlotte Bannister-Parker, Clive Christopher Bannister, Erin Bannister Townsend, Thurstan Bannister

Born Country: England

Athletes Neurologists

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

Died on: March 3, 2018

place of death: Oxford, England

Notable Alumni: Exeter College, Oxford, Merton College, Oxford, St Mary's Hospital Medical School

Cause of Death: Parkinson's Disease

More Facts

education: Imperial College London, Exeter College, Oxford, Merton College, Oxford, St Mary's Hospital Medical School

awards: 1955 - Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

After getting proper training he was chosen as an Olympic 'possible' in 1948 but he refused as he felt that he was still not ready for the challenge. His eyes were set on the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

In 1949, Bannister started to show great improvements in the 880 yard races. He also came third at White City in 4:14:2 apparently without any special training.

Within a month, the Australian runner John Landy broke his record. In the British Empire Games, Vancouver (The Mile of the Century), both runners beat the four-minute time, but Bannister came first at 3:58.8 defeating Landy.

He remained in touch with the sports by serving as the Chairman of the Sports Council of Great Britain (from 1971 to 1974), and as President of the International Council for Sport and Physical Recreation (from 1976 to 1983).
Awards & Achievements
His most prominent role in academic medicine is in the field of autonomic failure, an area of neurology focusing on diseases caused by particular automatic responses of the nervous system not taking place.
Personal Life, Legacy & Death

Bannister married Lady Moyra Bannister in 1955. They had four children.


He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011. Roger Bannister died at the age of 88 on 3 March 2018, in Oxford.

This former British athlete carried the Olympic flame at the site of his memorable feat, in the stadium now named after him, in 2012.
St Mary's Hospital (London), Imperial College School of Medicine has named a lecture theatre after Bannister.
He once famously said - 'The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win'.
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