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Nearly 64 years ago, Sir Roger Bannister put Britain on the map with his astounding, record-breaking mile run in less than four minutes.

"He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends", they added, in a statement published by the Press Association news agency.

On a windy late afternoon in Oxford on May 6, 1954, Bannister ran four laps on a cinder track in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

Swedish runner Gundar Haegg's mile time of 4:01.4 had stood for nine years, but in 1954 Bannister, Australian rival John Landy and others were threatening to break it.

After retiring from competitive racing, Bannister spent two decades as a neurologist in private practice, then turned full-time to research, specializing in autonomic failure - illness characterized by the failure of the central nervous system to respond automatically to stimuli.

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Bannister and Landy then competed at the Empire Games, now called the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 9, 1954. He was knighted in 1975 for his service as the first Chairman of Britain's Sports Council, according to The Telegraph.

He entered the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki as the United Kingdom record-holder in the mile, finishing a disappointing fourth in the 1,500-meter run.

After a long and esteemed career analysing brain disorders neurological function, Sir Roger announced he had Parkinson's Disease in a 2014 interview with the BBC.

The current women's record for the mile, 4:12.56 run by Svetlana Masterkova of Russian Federation, is even longer standing, dating to 1996.

A giant of athletics, Sir Roger Bannister will be deeply missed by the running community. "I'd like to see it as a metaphor not only for sport, but for life and seeking challenges".

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After Bannister crossed the finish line, the announcer read out the time: "3".

"His achievement transcended sport, let alone athletics". He leaves behind his wife Moyra Jacobsson, their two sons, two daughters, and 14 grandchildren. "Those are real achievements".

At St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, Bannister turned the focus of his athletic training to the four-minute mile.

"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track", tweeted Coe, who won two Olympic gold medals in the 1980s. No woman has ever run the mile in less than four minutes.

Lord Coe, now president of the IAAF, paid tribute to Bannister on Twitter: "This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics".

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Bannister returned to Oxford in 1985 to become Master of Pembroke College, a position he held until 1993.


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