Sir Roger Bannister


Athlete and neurologist

Exeter College, 1946


QUADCAST - Alumni Stories: Episode 26, May 2017


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Sir Roger Bannister relives running the first sub-four-minute mile in a special podcast to mark the anniversary of his extraordinary achievement in May 1954. He describes his training and how the record-breaking run (3 minutes 59.4 seconds) unfolded at the Iffley Road track in Oxford. Sir Roger mentions other highlights from his athletic career, and explains how he developed as a runner while studying at Oxford, where he read medicine at Exeter and Merton.

After retiring from running, Sir Roger focussed on his medical and academic career. He talks about his research interests and varied experiences, including his pioneering work on the autonomic nervous system, and focusing on heat illness when he was on army service in Aden. From 1985 to 1993, Sir Roger was Master of Pembroke in Oxford.

As well as inspiring generations of runners, Sir Roger has also had a wider impact upon sport. When he was chairman of the Sports Council in the 1970s he introduced the first anabolic steroid tests for athletes. In 2017, Sir Roger was made a Companion of Honour for his services to sport.


Interviewer: Guy Collender
Music: Setuniman from