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Sir Roger Bannister's four-minute-mile running shoes sold for £266,500

Published 10/09/2015

Tom Cruise attending the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation premiere at the BFI Imax in London.
Tom Cruise attending the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation premiere at the BFI Imax in London.
A costume worn by Tom Cruise in the first Mission: Impossible film will be auctioned (Christie's/PA).

The running shoes worn by Sir Roger Bannister when he became the first man to break the four-minute mile have sold for £266,500 at auction.

Sir Roger clocked three minutes 59.4 seconds in the historic race at Iffley Road Track in Oxford on May 6 1954 when he was a 25-year-old medical student

Today the thin leather running spikes which weigh just four and a half ounces were snapped up by an anonymous buyer at Christie's in South Kensington, London .

They were sold along with a letter signed by Sir Roger and a letter written by his friend Eustace Thomas commenting on their "lightness".

Kate Summers of Christie's described the shoes, made by Charles Law of GT Law and Son of Wimbledon Park, as "the symbol of not only an historic moment in sporting history, but demonstrate what humans can achieve with determination and persistence".

She said: "Since announcing the sale of Sir Roger Bannister's running shoes, we have received a great deal of interest from across the globe. We are thrilled that these unique and iconic shoes have sold for £266,500 (including buyer's premium).

"When bidding opened there was great anticipation - after two and a half minutes of bidding, they were sold to an anonymous buyer on the telephone."

Forbes magazine named his time as the Greatest Athletic Achievement of the 20th century. He was also the first winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award for 1954.

Sir Roger, who went on to have a distinguished career in neurological medicine, was the American Neurological Association's first lifetime achievement award winner in 2005.

He was the first chairman of the Sports Council and he was knighted in 1975.

The costume that Hollywood actor Tom Cruise wore in the famous scene from Mission: Impossible where his character Ethan Hunt is suspended from the ceiling in an audacious heist was unsold at the same Christie's auction.

The costume, including a rubber headpiece, glasses, gloves and black jacket, T-shirt, trousers and boots, had been expected to fetch around £7,000.

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