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‘The time is three...’
Lost in the roar of the crowd were the remaining words, ‘...minutes, fifty-nine point four seconds.’
Roger Bannister’s time in 1954 did not just break the world record for the mile; it broke the long-standing four-minute barrier that had defeated many top runners including Nurmi, Wooderson and Hägg. Yet it was a time that should have been run many years before. Athletes tried and failed until Bannister’s legendary run.
Since then, the barrier has been broken by others, including Coe, Ovett and Cram. But is a 3:40 mile, or even a 3:30 mile, possible?
From Walter George to Hicham El Guerrouj, this is the authoritative statistical history of miling and more than 500 runners who have tried to break the most famous time in athletics history.
Bob Phillips was a member of the BBC Radio athletics commentary team for seventeen years. He is now editor of Track Stats, the journal of the National Union of Track Statisticians. In recent years he has written a number of books about sports and athletics history. He lives in south-west France with his wife. During a long and consistently modest running career he competed at every distance from 100 yards to the marathon – his fastest time in the mile is 4:23.
1 April 2015 - ISBN 9780993215209
Paperback - 198 x 129mm - 396 pages