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Image of Sir Roger Bannister’s milestone shows how athletics has changed

The moment the junior doctor achieved his sub-four-minute mile, captured by the Press Association.

Sir Roger Bannister hits the tape during the race he will always be remembered for (PA)
Sir Roger Bannister hits the tape during the race he will always be remembered for (PA)

The famous photograph of the young Sir Roger Bannister crossing the finish line to secure his record is a million miles away from the conditions in which modern records are set.

Instead of laser technology at the finish line, Sir Roger crashed through a piece of string watched by crowds of anxious officials clad in macs armed with nothing but stopwatches on May 6 1954.

A Press Association photographer was poised at the Iffley Road track in Oxford to take the photo that went down as one of the greatest sporting moments in British history.

Sir Roger’s record was the result of months of training and a partnership between himself and his two pacemakers Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher.

Brasher took the lead for the first two laps, while Chataway over took in the third, setting Sir Roger up for the final push in the last lap.

On his feet were a pair of simple leather running spikes, which he had taken care to sharpen that morning.

As the commentator announced Sir Roger’s final time, the roar of the crowd was so loud that only the words “The time was three…” could be heard.

Sir Roger’s time was 3:59.4 seconds, but the record stood for just 46 days until Australian John Landy managed to run it in 3:57:9 in Turku, Finland.

The Iffley Road track now has a blue plaque commemorating the record, while Sir Roger cemented his place in history by beating Landy by 0.8 seconds at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver.

The British athlete took gold in a time of 3:58:8 in a race dubbed The Miracle Mile.



From Belfast Telegraph