British middle-distance runner and doctor. He was the first man to run the mile in under four minutes. He was knighted in 1975.
While still a medical student, Bannister won British (1951, 1953–54) and Empire (1954) championships in the mile run. He finally broke the four-minute barrier at Oxford in May 1954, with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Later the same year, in his last race, he won the gold medal in the European 1500 metres event. After his retirement from competitive athletics he wrote several papers on the physiology of exercise and neurology and a book, First Four Minutes (1955). He was a consultant neurologist for over twenty years and continues to hold various honorary positions. From 1984 to 1993 he was master of Pembroke College, Oxford.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).