Sir Roger Bannister talks about student days and the 4-minute mile
Sir Roger Bannister (photo credit John Cairns)
Saturday 6 May will be the 63rd anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister (1946, Physiological Sciences) breaking the four-minute mile. To mark the anniversary he spoke to Guy Collender from the University of Oxford’s Alumni Office. The interview is available to listen to online or to download as a podcast here.
During the interview Sir Roger describes what it was like to be a student in post-war Oxford. He recalls how he developed as a runner while studying at Oxford, where he read medicine at Exeter and Merton, and relives his record-breaking run (3 minutes 59.4 seconds) at the Iffley Road track in Oxford.
After retiring from running, Sir Roger focussed on his medical and academic career. He talks about his research interests and varied experiences, including his pioneering work on the autonomic nervous system, and focusing on heat illness when he was on army service in Aden. From 1985 to 1993, Sir Roger was Master of Pembroke in Oxford.
As well as inspiring generations of runners, Sir Roger has also had a wider impact upon sport. When he was chairman of the Sports Council in the 1970s he introduced the first anabolic steroid tests for athletes. In 2017, Sir Roger was made a Companion of Honour for his services to sport.