The 4 minute mile – Impossible?

The 4 minute Mile

The story dates back to 1954, it was a time when it was considered to be impossible to run a mile in 4 minutes. And people actually made fun of the ones who even tried. It was considered a herculean task, infact an impossible task to run a mile in 4 minutes. Well I know what you are thinking, there are people now like Usain Bolt who can do atleast twice as fast as that, people run as fast as lightning bolt and probably if I train enough even I can do it. It is not that big a deal indeed.

What was the motivation for it? 

Truth is, it was. Roger Banister contested the 1952 olympics and set a British record in 1500m but did not win the medal, he was disappointed to say the least and that was probably when he resolved to do the impossible task – A 4 MINUTE MILE! People laughed, people made fun of him, everyone around made sure to tell him with a lot of proofs that it was impossible. But history is funny you see, it takes one such crazy person to stick to his beliefs.

Why is it so special? 

It takes one such Wright brothers to enable us fly, it takes one such Edison to give us light, it takes one such Newton to present us gravity, it takes one such Neil Armstrong to step on the moon and it takes one such Roger Banister to set the record for a one minute mile. He was the first ever to break the barrier of 1 minute mile and here is a video of this remarkable feat!


More people did it in a very short span of time

It was very surprising to notice that after he did the 4 minute mile, there were 60 others who did it in the very year and a few who ran faster and broke the record. But what made the difference, why did the other 60 people who broke the record and the hundreds later did not make the first 4 minute mile. If they were faster than Roger Banister, then logically they should have been able to do it faster and more efficiently than him and there should have been some other name in the record books other than his!

If it was that impossible, why did so many people do it right after Roger did it? 

Strange indeed, then I guess this might be one reason why. History is always full of such people, there is one person who sets the path and does something ground breaking, he breaks the psychological barrier which holds hundreds of people under a limitation and sets them free, sets their creativity free, it frees them from the shackles of being ‘Impossible’, it makes them strive, it provides the necessary competition, it makes you achieve, it brings out something very special in you and you may call it the spirit of competition!

It takes one hero to set the standards

It did take one Banister to make it happen, there might be debates as to why others did it after him and not before. Well this is my theory and I am going to stick to it. We all need heroes, we all need people to aspire to, to dream of and to become one among us, someone to relate to, someone to tell us that what we think of is not impossible. We all need the trendsetters who make history as they move and make our lives a lot simpler. 

Here is to one such hero, Roger Banister


14 Responses to "The 4 minute mile – Impossible?"

  1. Your articles are such short simple and practicle yet they they Inspire like anything… thnkq soo much for such wonderful articles… please continue and let everyone know their true potential.. kudos to u bro

    1. Thank you Jayasimha, humbled by such kind words :). We would love to keep bringing more, do let us know any thoughts on how we can improve and keep offering better. We are always open for new thoughts and new dimensions as long as we are able to connect better 🙂

  2. Hmm gr8 ! ty for sharing this wonderful post 🙂 loved lines–Psychological barriers…! indeed true, Role-models r made like that, leaders r made like that. Keep Inspiring & getting Inspired.

    1. Thank you Ruchi :).. Ever since I heard this story, I have been a huge fan of it and I would love to know what was happening in his mind when he took this decision to run. And the perseverance to make it happen with so many people around making fun of him and the pursuit as well! 🙂

  3. Highly inspiring article Vinay ji! As you rightly said, psychological barrier or comfort zone hides one’s true potential. Some factors help break these barriers and bring out legends in front of us!

    1. Thank you Sindhu :).. I was quite impressed the first time I heard of this and read about this. It felt so simple and elegant and easy to understand. I guess that probably is the truth, it doesnt have to be complicated 🙂


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