Bannister the innovator

Roger Bannister was more than just a fast runner. He was an innovator and many of the things he did in pursuit of that record breaking run pushed the boundaries of the time.

For his sub 4 minute mile attempt he enlisted pacemakers, with Chris Brasher running the first two laps and then Chris Chataway taking the tough third lap before Bannister hit the front with just 240m left to the finish. At the time the norm was for runners to just race each other and the winning time was the result of how fast one man could run.


This sort of team working strategy employed by Bannister was frowned upon by many, indeed some considering it to be unethical or even blatant cheating yet now it is the norm for world record attempts and was taken to a new level with Eliud Kipchoge's 'echelon' formation for the sub 2 marathon attempt.

For the race itself Bannister had a pair of racing shoes (left) hand made by G.T Law & sons and these weighed in at a skinny 4.5 ounces (130 grams). He further shaved some weight by grinding the metal spikes thinner with a grindstone – a focus on technology that the British Skeleton Bobsleigh team would relate to!