Oxford University to mark 70th anniversary of Sir Bannister’s four-minute mile with local community
Oxford University to mark 70th anniversary of Sir Bannister’s four-minute mile with local community

Oxford University to mark 70th anniversary of Sir Bannister’s four-minute mile with local community

Oxford University Athletic Club (OUAC), Oxford University Cross Country Club (OUCCC) and the University of Oxford, with support from Oxfordshire County Council, will mark the 70th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister’s record-breaking four-minute mile with a community ‘mass mile’ through the centre of Oxford, along with a track event of international calibre.

The event which will take place on 6 May will allow a new generation of runners to mark Sir Roger’s extraordinary achievement and bring together outstanding athletes to compete at the same Iffley Road track where he pushed sporting boundaries.

Starting at 9am, waves of runners in the community mile will depart from St Aldate’s, progress down Oxford’s High Street before finishing on Iffley Road. They will collect their finishers’ medal on the Iffley Road Track.

The community mile is open to participants of all ages and abilities. World Athletics will sponsor waves for local schoolchildren as part of their Global Kids’ Athletic Day, while thousands of people from Oxford and beyond are invited to join in a common celebration of community, sport, and physical activity. With entries limited, participants are encouraged to sign up and secure a place in this historic event. Tickets available here. 

I grew up with a love of sport and remain a keen runner, committed to the transformative benefits of sport. Breaking the four-minute mile barrier has endured as a defining achievement in sporting history. The Bannister Miles will be a fitting way to mark this legacy, achieved at the University 70 years ago, and the Bannister Community Mile through the streets of Oxford will be a fitting way to celebrate together with our community Roger’s landmark achievement.

Professor Irene Tracey, CBE, FRS, FMedSci, Vice-Chancellor

Later that day, athletes from across the country will compete in a series of track races organised by OUAC and the British Milers’ Club, supported by England Athletics. The races will encompass heats for athletes aged nine and over, as well as para-athletes and high-level amateur runners. Finally, and precisely 70 years since Bannister set off, the meet will conclude with men’s and women’s elite miles, where a new generation of athletes will test their limits under the watchful eye of past mile world record holders.

The event is open to the Oxford community and spectators at Iffley Road Track throughout the day where there will be a pop-up World Athletics museum. In the late afternoon, there will be a presentation of World Athletics Heritage Plaques in recognition of Bannister’s achievement and the contribution of OUAC to the development of athletics.

The celebrations build on a series of university initiatives designed to open its sports facilities to the wider community, particularly local schoolchildren. Last autumn, pupils from Greyfriars School spent one day per week participating in sport and attending engaging academic talks. An expanded scheme will offer a similar programme to more East Oxford schools this summer. Also this summer, work will begin on a state-of-the-art renovation of Iffley Road Track following a substantial investment by the University.