Before Puma’s star runner Usain Bolt electrified crowds with his world record-setting speed, there was Britain’s Roger Bannister.
Bannister was the first person to break the four-minute mile barrier, and the runner, now 86 years old, made history again yesterday. The shoes he wore during his epic May 6, 1954 run, held at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, were auctioned in London by Christie’s for roughly $320,000. The winning bidder hasn’t been identified.
When Bannister wore the shoes, which weighed 4.5 ounces, he ran the mile in 3 min., 59.4 seconds.
“I could see there was an advantage in having the shoe as light as possible,” Bannister said in a statement on the Christie’s Website. “The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner. These shoes are the last tangible link I have with the four-minute mile.”
For years, runners had tried to crack the 4-minute barrier, leaving many to think the speed was physically impossible.
When Bannister proved them wrong on a windy, rainy day, he was a 25-year-old medical student, who would soon retire from running.
In a twist of fate, the never-achieved-before record, lasted for 46 days.
For a piece of history, watch his historic run here.