Roger Bannister： Sub-Four-Minute Mile
In 1954 it seemed unlikely——maybe even impossible——that anyone could run a mile in less than four minutes. Several runners had come close——Sweden's Gunder Haess had run the mile in four minutes and 1.4 seconds nine years previously——but no one could break through the four-minute barrier. People began to believe that it couldn't be done. Until Britain's Roger Bannister， that is. Competing at Oxford's Iffley Road track on May 6， 1954， the 25-year-old medical student wowed some 3，000 spectators when he crossed the finish line in three minutes and 59.4 seconds. Once the psychological barrier had been broken， mile times kept falling. Bannister's record stood a scant six weeks before John Landy of Australia ran the mile in three minutes and 58 seconds. The current world record is three minutes and 43.1 seconds.