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21-05-2024
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Vitality Westminster Mile and British Milers Club combine to set sub-four challenge in 70th anniversary year of Bannister's famous achievement

The 70th anniversary of the historic first sub-four-minute mile will be celebrated at the 2024 Vitality Westminster Mile on Saturday 21 September with two British Milers Club (BMC) races to showcase the UK’s current generation of middle-distance talent.

This month marks 70 years since Roger Bannister became the first man to achieve the holy grail of middle-distance athletics and run inside four minutes for the mile at Iffley Road, Oxford. Helped by his illustrious pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, Bannister ran the four laps of the track in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Since then, more than 250 British men have emulated Bannister’s achievement and run under four minutes for the mile on the track and 20 men have done it on a road course. But no one has managed to repeat the feat at Britain’s most iconic mile road race, the Vitality Westminster Mile – with Chris O’Hare coming closest in 2019 when he ran 4:01.

With the help of the BMC, the cream of British men’s endurance running will be offered the chance to change that on Saturday 21 September. Pacemakers will be employed to give the field the best chance to run a sub-four-minute mile around the historic loop of St James’s Park.

The BMC women’s race will also have pacemakers with the aim of running inside 4:30.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events (organisers of the Vitality Westminster Mile) and son of Chris Brasher, said: “Sir Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute-mile barrier for the mile is one of British sports most iconic and enduring achievements. It is also something that holds particular significance for me as my father was one of Sir Roger’s pacemakers and helped him to achieve something that people said at the time was impossible.

“We are very excited to partner with the British Milers Club to mark the 70th anniversary of this historic achievement with a pair of races at this year’s Vitality Westminster Mile that will showcase the current rich generation of middle-distance talent here in the UK. Nobody has yet managed to break four minutes around the famous St James’s Park course and it would be a fitting tribute to Sir Roger’s achievement if that were to change on Saturday 21 September.”

The race is open to any BMC member aiming to run faster than 4:40 for men or 5:24 for women. To enter and for more information, head here

There will be prize money available for first (£1,000), second (£500) and third (£250) in the men’s and women’s races with a bonus of £250 for any man that runs inside four minutes and any woman that can run faster than 4:30.

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. It offers miles for all ages and abilities, including families, adults and veterans, juniors, elite athletes and wheelchair users. The event is completely free for under 11s, £7 for ages 11 to 17 and just £10 for adults. Westminster residents are eligible for a £5 discount.