Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Roger Bannister was the first man to break the 4-minute mile; however, he did not break the 4-minute mile in an actual race. On May 6, 1954, he ran 3:59.4, while being carefully paced by other runners. Bannister’s quarter-mile splits were 57.5 seconds, 60.7, 62.3, and 58.9. But 23 days after Bannister had run the most famous mile of all time, fellow Briton Diane Leather became the first woman to break 5 minutes with a time of 4:59.6 in Birmingham, England, on May 29, 1954. In the 40-plus years since the two British runners broke these significant marks, women’s times have improved by a far higher percentage than men’s.