Tuesday 22 May 2018

Record-breaking Roger Bannister dies age 88

FILE PHOTO OXFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 6: Sir Roger Bannister poses with the original stopwatchthat was used when recording the first sub 4 minute mile on May 6, 2004 at Pembroke College in Oxford, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO OXFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 6: Sir Roger Bannister poses with the original stopwatchthat was used when recording the first sub 4 minute mile on May 6, 2004 at Pembroke College in Oxford, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-four minute mile, has died aged 88, his family have said.

Bannister, aided by Sir Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher as pacemakers, achieved the feat by running three minutes 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track on 6 May 1954.

Bannister, who also won a Commonwealth and European Championship gold medal that year, went on to become a leading neurologist.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.

A statement from his family said: "Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3rd March 2018, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them.

"He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends."

Lord Coe, who followed in Bannister footstep's by breaking the mile world record in 1981, paid tribute to an inspirational man.

The president of athletics governing body said on Twitter: "This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics. There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track."

British Athletics tweeted: "All at British Athletics are incredibly saddened by the passing of Sir Roger Bannister at the age of 88. A legend in every sense of the word."

The London Marathon posted on Twitter: "For some the word legend doesn't quite cut it. Rest in peace Sir Roger Bannister."

British long-distance runner Jo Pavey, a former European champion over 10,000 metres, said Bannister's feat "showed that barriers could be broken".

She said on Sky News: "He's such a great example to all the athletes coming through. He was such a gentleman, so able to give encouragement to all the generations of athletes coming through and he'll be so sorely missed. He's left such an amazing legacy in our sport, he was a true hero."

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