History of the Westminster Mile
The Vitality Westminster Mile was launched by London Marathon Events in partnership with Westminster City Council in 2013 as a legacy event from the 2012 Olympic Games.
With races for all ages and abilities, including families, adults and vets, juniors, elite athletes and wheelchair users, the event has established itself as the UK’s premier festival of road mile running.
The inaugural race in May 2013 saw nearly 2000 finishers, including Paralympic gold-medal winner David Weir, cover the iconic one-mile course, which starts on The Mall, goes around three sides of St James’s Park and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace. Hannah England and Charlie Grice were crowned the first ever British Athletics senior road mile champions.
The 2014 event saluted the 60th anniversary of the record-breaking achievements of two icons of the distance: the legendary Sir Roger Bannister and Diane Leather.
In May 1954, Bannister became the first man to run a sub-four minute mile and just weeks later Leather became the first woman to run a sub-five minute mile.
In recognition of these extraordinary achievements, event organisers introduced the Sir Roger Bannister trophy and Diane Leather trophy to be awarded to the winners of the men’s and women’s elite miles. The inaugural winners of the trophies were Chris O’Hare and Alison Leonard and the presentations were made by the guests of honour Sir Roger and Diane Leather.
More than 4000 runners of all ages and abilities took part in the day-long mile festival. David Weir attempted to record the world’s first sub-three-minute mile but missed the mark, setting a new world best of 3:07.
In 2015, the theme of saluting the legends of British middle-distance running continued as the event celebrated the 30th anniversary of Steve Cram’s world mile record of 3:46.32, which still stands as the European and British record.
In addition to running mile races with children on the day, Cram lined up to take part in the inaugural Olympians mile, when some 90 athletes from all sports rolled back the years and donned their Olympic kit to run or walk the distance. 98-year-old Bill Lucas, Britain’s oldest living Olympian and a veteran of the 1948 Games in London, acted as the official starter and fittingly Cram won the race. The men’s and women’s elite races were won by Adam Clarke and Racheal Bamford. Weir, assisted by fellow Paralympic champion Marcel Hug (Switzerland) again attempted to break the three minute barrier. He missed the mark but improved his world-best time to 3:03.
In 2016, this time assisted by Ernst van Dyk, Weir finally smashed the three-minute barrier, completing the mile in a time of two minutes 57 seconds. The men's course record also fell as Nick Goolab dipped ahead of Andrew Butchart in a neck and neck finsh with a time of four minutes one second to become British one-mile road race champion.
Goolab became the first to defend his title at the Vitality Westminster Mile in 2017, while a host of Olympians including Lord Sebastian Coe ran in a year which saw a record 5,982 runners take part in the event.
That record was broken again in 2018 as 8,048 people ran, making the Vitality Westminster Mile the biggest timed mile event in the world. Chris O'Hare took the victory over a field including Charlie Grice and Jake Wightman in the elite men's race, while Melissa Courtney followed up her Commonwealth Games bronze medal with a win on The Mall.
More than 25,000 people have completed the one-mile course in the first five years of the event.
Number of finishers:
- 2018 – 8,048
- 2017 – 5,982
- 2016 – 5,166
- 2015 – 4,878
- 2014 – 4,038
- 2013 – 1,975
British Athletics Road Mile Champions
- 2018 – Chris O'Hare and Melissa Courtney
- 2017 – Nick Goolab and Adelle Tracey
- 2016 – Nick Goolab and Sarah McDonald
- 2015 – Adam Clarke and Racheal Bamford
- 2014 – Chris O'Hare and Alison Leonard
- 2013 – Charlie Grice and Hannah England