Festival marks Bannister anniversary

Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile barrier in Oxford on May 6 1954.   Photo: PA Wire
Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile barrier in Oxford on May 6 1954. Photo: PA Wire
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An event to commemorate the 60th anniversay of Roger Bannister’s first sub four-minute mile is being staged at Sheffield’s Woodbourn Road Stadium from 7pm tonight.

Smiley Paces Running Club’s festival of miles is believed to be the only event in England celebrating the feat on the actual date, May 6.

Organisers have attracted a big entry and eight races will be run.

Proceedings start at 7pm with a draw for who wears the No 41 shirt which Bannister wore on May 6 1954 at Oxford’s Iffley Road track.

First race will be for the top runners and organiser Jenny Chambers expects a winning time of around four-and-a-half-minutes.

For anyone who missed the entry deadline there is a four-minute challenge at 8pm with entrIes being taken on the night.

* Since Bannister’s famous run 190 British runners have beaten that mark, eight of them with South Yorkshire connections.

Leading them, in second place behind Steve Cram, is Sebastian Coe whose 3:47.33 set in Brussels in 1981, was then a world record.

The others are - No 4: Peter Elliott (Rotherham), 3:49.20, Oslo 1988; No 7: John Mayock (Barnsley), 3:50.32, Oslo 1996; No 27: Lee Emanuel (City of Sheffield AC), 3:34.30 indoors in New York in January this year; No 40: Alan Simpson (Rotherham) 3:54.2 White City, London 1965); No 148: Ken Wood (Sheffield United) 3:59.3; No 174: Ken Newton (Sheffield), 3:59.8, Gateshead: No 182: Chris Mason (Hallamshire), 3:59.9, Philadelphia, 1970.