Shoes worn by Sir Roger Bannister when he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes have sold for £266,500 ($411,394/€411,156) in an auction at Christie’s in London.
Sir Roger achieved the historic feat at Oxford on May 6, 1954, as following pacing from Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher the Briton crossed the finishing line in 3min 59.4sec.
The 86-year-old Briton explained he had the shoes, produced by GT Law and Son, designed to be extremely light which he believed would aid his effort to achieve the landmark time.
“I could see there was an advantage in having the shoe as light as possible,” Sir Roger said.
“The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner.
Christie’s auction house had given the shoes an estimate of £50,000 ($71,000/€77,000) but were bought for staggering 433 per cent higher than that amount by an anonymous phone bidder.
Earlier this year, the stopwatch used to time the race was sold at auction for £20,000 ($31,000/€27,000) and Sir Roger revealed that the shoes were his final possession which was associated with the four-minute mile.
“All my trophies are now on display at Pembroke College Oxford, where I was master,” he said.
“They served me great purpose, I’m grateful to them.
“I think it’s the right time to part with them and I plan to give part of the proceeds to the Autonomic Charitable Trust (ACT) which encourages the area of neurological research to which I have devoted most of my life.”
Sir Roger was knighted in 1975 and currently lives in Oxford, where he is having to cope with Parkinson’s having been diagnosed in 2011.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Inside the Games.