The Mile of the Century
On August 7, 1954 during the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, B.C., England’s Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy met for the first time in the one mile run at the newly constructed Empire Stadium.
Both men had broken the four minute barrier previously that year. Bannister was the first to break the mark with a time of 3:59.4 on May 6th in Oxford, England. Subsequently, on June 21st in Turku, Finland, John Landy became the new record holder with an official time of 3:58.
The world watched eagerly as both men approached the starting blocks. As 35,000 enthusiastic fans looked on, no one knew what would take place on that historic day.
Promoted as “The Mile of the Century”, it would later be known as the “Miracle Mile”.
With only 90 yards to go in one of the world’s most memorable races, John Landy glanced over his left shoulder to check his opponent’s position. At that instant Bannister streaked by him to victory in a Commonwealth record time of 3:58.8. Landy’s second place finish in 3:59.6 marked the first time the four minute mile had been broken by two men in the same race.
For so long people said breaking the 4-minute mile was not possible. As soon as it was done once many people started doing it. It is funny how that works, once people accept and believe something can be done it soon then can become commonplace, elite high schoolers routinely break 4 minutes in the mile now. There are a couple of things to learn from this; first when setting goals; the most important part is truly believing you can achieve them and having buy in from your team that it can be done. Legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant used to say “whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are usually right.” So when setting goals start by getting buy in from all those involved that it can be done then start working on the path to get there!
The second thing we can learn from this story is that you must focus on your path to success, don’t get to worried about anyone else’s path because when you start worrying about others you take your eyes off your goal and very often fall short.
Other great quotes from Roger Banister:
“The reason sport is attractive to many of the general public is that it’s filled with reversals. What you think may Happen doesn’t happen. A champion is beaten, an unknown becomes a champion.” – Roger Banister
“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” – Roger Banister
Often times the path to Success is simple, but that does not equate to easy; the old adage that says if it was easy then everyone would do it is so true. Stay focused on your goals and the path to get there and don’t get discouraged when it gets hard and you can achieve those goals. Keep pushing forward every day.
“However ordinary each of us may seem, we are all in some way special, and do things that are extraordinary, perhaps until then… even thought impossible.” – Roger Banister
Believe in yourself and in your dreams; keep pursing them every day; moving a little bit closer and you can achieve far more than others every thought possible.
Sir Roger Banister passed away March 3, 2018 at the age of 88.