Roger Bannister, First to Run a 4-Minute Mile, Dies

British athletics great Roger Bannister dies aged 88

Bannister, who went on to pursue a long and distinguished medical career, had been slowed by Parkinson's disease in recent years.

Coe, who had learned the news just before the launch of a new IAAF Heritage initiative created to showcase the sport's former greats such as Bannister, said:"This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics".

"His achievement transcended sport, let alone athletics".

Steve Cram, another British mile world record breaker, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: "To have Roger Bannister as a Brit having done that was something I used so often over the years to inspire me individually".

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"It will go on being broken until it gets down to 3:30", Bannister said in an interview with the Independent newspaper in 2004.

"One year after the coronation of a young Queen Elizabeth II and after man conquered Everest, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile with the help of his friends Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher". We have all lost a giant and for many a deep close friendship.

"Nobody had ever done the 200 and 400 at this level before and it was special for me too, pushing those boundaries and it was all inspired over the decades by Sir Roger Bannister". "It is very hard to break records during Olympic competition, but winning races was better than holding world records".

British long-distance runner Jo Pavey, a former European champion over 10,000 metres, said Bannister was a "true hero".

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"He inspired a generation of runners and he will leave a lasting legacy on athletics". His assault on the four-minute barrier was meticulously planned and beautifully executed. "I'd like to see it as a metaphor not only for sport, but for life and seeking challenges".

He was also instrumental in initiating the first testing processes for anabolic steroids while serving as chairman of the British Sports Council in the 1970s.

The official account of Team GB posted: "We are incredibly saddened by the death of Sir Roger Bannister, aged 88".

"He was a man of great distinction and honour in every sense. Rest in Peace Roger". He was a boy who "just ran anywhere and everywhere - never because it was an end in itself, but because it was easier for me to run than to walk", Bannister wrote in "The First Four Minutes", his 1995 memoir.

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IAAF President Sebastian Coe said Bannister's death represented a "day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics". "The first person you're taught to look up to is Roger Bannister".

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