Roger Bannister died last week.
Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’re aware of his legacy: he was the first human to run a mile in under 4 minutes.
It was a mind-blowing feat. Ever since the Ancient Greeks set their sights on attaining this “perfect” goal 3,000 years ago, no runner on the planet had been able to run that fast for that long.
For millennia of sport, breaking the 4-minute barrier was widely regarded as physically impossible.
But Bannister, a busy medical student at the time with often only 30 minutes available to train per day, had an unorthodox view — one rooted in skepticism of the conventional training techniques and mindset.
He began with the assumption that the 4-minute mile was possible, and then challenged himself to develop a science-based regimen for attaining it.
During a brief lull on the otherwise blustery day of May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister made history by completing the mile-run in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. The impossible had been achieved.
Bannister crossing the finish line at the Iffley Road track, Oxford
But what ensued next was equally momentous.
By the end of 1957, a total of 16 runners had achieved sub-4-minute mile times.
How could so many people suddenly overcome a challenge that had thwarted the best runners in the world for three millennia? The transition was so immediate and abrupt that it can’t be attributed to Click to see the original article