Posted on 13 Mar 2018
Sir Roger Bannisters: True Epitome of Mental Toughness
Having read about Sir Roger Bannisters death at the age of 88 at the weekend, I mentioned it to my partner who recognised the name but couldn’t place why, having made a historic achievement twenty years before my partner was born, I only had to say ‘4 minute mile’ and he knew who I was talking about!
Born in 1929, Sir Roger Bannister went on to read medicine at Oxford and during his time as a student took up athletics, having only 30 minutes a day to spare for the track he utilised his knowledge of medicine to examine the mechanics of running and designed his own training plan.
This saw him get to running a mile in 4:24 and putting him as a possible for the 1948 London Olympics, four years later at the Olympics in Helsinki he set a new British record coming 4th in the 1500m. However what many would come to view as his greatest achievement came two years later on the 6th May 1954 when he became the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes, 3:59.4 to be precise; for a quarter of a century people had been attempting to run a mile in under 4 minutes, no one had achieved it and most thought it impossible.
This new set record lasted only 46 days before it was beaten again, over twenty five years of trying and no one had managed to accomplish a sub 4 minute mile yet two people did it just 46 days apart -and it didn’t stop there, today there are thousands who have attained the same.
Sir Roger Bannister himself described that “it had become rather like everest, a challenge for the human spirit” and it is well regarded that the barrier to achieving the sub 4 minute mile was not a physical but a psychological one.
For me he is the epitome of mental toughness, he believed it possible when no one else did, was persistent, focused and motivated to push himself to the limit to succeed, and all starting from when he only had 30 minutes to spare! I mentioned that many came to view the sub 4 minute mile as his greatest achievement but interestingly once qualified as a Doctor Sir Roger Bannister went on to become a leading neurologist which he viewed as a far greater achievement than any he made as an athlete.
Editorial by FitFarms Health and Fitness Team
Image credit: ImpossibleHQ