Oxford University Athletic Club

Oxford University Athletic Club Statement on the late Sir Roger Bannister 5th March 2018

Oxford University Athletic Club was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of an ex-President
and a club legend, Sir Roger Bannister.

Nearly anyone who has ever set foot on an athletics track is aware of his groundbreaking
achievements back in 1954. What took place on a windy cinder track at Iffley Road rightly stunned
the world and heralded the start of an era of new possibilities in middle distance running.
As though the Four Minute Mile was not enough, Sir Roger Bannister continued to give a huge
amount to sport at Oxford long after he left through his support of the Vincent’s Club Awards for
talented sportspeople at the University.

Whilst many athletics legends have followed in Sir Roger’s footsteps, running even faster than
3:59.4, there are barely any from whom a young athlete can draw so much inspiration. The spirit of
amateurism and the task of balancing his studies with his running are a far cry from the hugely
commercialised and professional setup one sees in athletics these days. The likes of Sir Mo Farah
or Dame Jessica Ennis, although still hugely inspiring, are far harder to relate to than a keen young
Oxford medic, running for the pure enjoyment of it back in the 1950s. It is this aspect of Sir Roger
Bannister’s achievements that makes him such a unique source of continued motivation for
athletes around the world 60 years on.

The thoughts of everyone at the Oxford University Athletic Club are with his family and close
friends at this difficult time. An immensely talented and modest gentleman, Sir Roger’s legacy of
achieving the unachievable in the era of amateurism lives on and will continue to inspire many for
decades to come. We are sincerely grateful for all that he did for his university, his sport and his
country, and he will be remembered forever as one of the true greats.

Miles Weatherseed

Oxford University Athletic Club President 2017-18

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