Runners will line the streets of Westminster, London, on Saturday, 24 May 2014, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister becoming the first athlete to run a mile in less than four minutes and Diane Leather becoming the first female to run a mile in less than five minutes.
Each year, thousands gather to participate in the annual Olympic Legacy Event, the Bupa Westminster Mile. The participants of the one-mile race will commence at the iconic road, The Mall, and will conclude at Buckingham Palace, which is the same path used in the marathon and road cycling events in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Bannister, who earned fourth place in the 1500-meter (.93 miles) race during the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games, ran one mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds on 6 May 1954, in Oxford, England. Bannister broke the four-minute mile record at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track, now known as the Roger Bannister running track. The Australian Olympic Athlete, John Landy, completed a mile in 3 minutes and 57 seconds on 21 June 1954, breaking Bannister’s record.
Leather achieved her personal best in addition to becoming the first woman to run a mile in less than five minutes when she ran a mile in 4 minutes and 45 seconds in Birmingham, England, during the Midlands Women’s AAA Championships on 29 May 1954. Leather’s record remained unbroken for seven years until the New Zealand Olympic medalist, Marise Chamberlain, lowered it to 4 minutes and 41 seconds at the Commonwealth Games on 8 December 1962.
The iconic Bupa Westminster Mile is organized by the London Marathon and the Westminster City Council and includes races for families, juniors, wheelchair users, elite athletes and veterans. The event will include 30 races throughout the day.