Bannister Miles 2024 - Press Release


Oxford celebrates 70 years since Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile  

The life and legacy of Sir Roger Bannister is to be celebrated on the 70th anniversary of his record-breaking four-minute mile with a community “mass mile” through the centre of Oxford, along with a track event of international calibre, it was announced today.


The event, on Monday 6 May, will allow a new generation of runners to mark Sir Roger’s extraordinary achievement and bring together outstanding athletes to compete at the same Iffley Road track where he pushed sporting boundaries.


It has been organised by Oxford University Athletic Club (OUAC) and the University of Oxford, with support from Oxfordshire County Council.


Starting at 9am, waves of runners in the community mile will depart from St Aldate’s, progress down Oxford’s High Street before finishing on Iffley Road. They will collect their finishers’ medal on the Iffley Road Track.


The community mile is open to participants of all ages and abilities. World Athletics will sponsor waves for local schoolchildren as part of their Global Kids’ Athletic Day, while thousands of people from Oxford and beyond are invited to join in a common celebration of community, sport, and physical activity. With entries limited, participants are encouraged to sign up and secure a place in this historic event. Tickets available here. 


Later that day, athletes from across the country will compete in a series of track races organised by OUAC and the British Milers’ Club, supported by England Athletics. The races will encompass heats for athletes aged nine and over, as well as para-athletes and high-level amateur runners. Finally, and precisely 70 years since Bannister set off, the meet will conclude with men’s and women’s elite miles, where a new generation of athletes will test their limits under the watchful eye of past mile world record holders. Tickets available here. 


Spectators are welcome at Iffley Road Track throughout the day, with food and drink stalls, a pop-up World Athletics museum, and health and fitness groups all present. In the late afternoon, there will be a presentation of World Athletics Heritage Plaques in recognition of Bannister’s achievement and the contribution of OUAC – 164 years old – to the development of athletics. The whole community is invited to attend the track meet. Tickets will be available free-of-charge, with advance registration recommended. Tickets available here. 


These celebrations build on a series of university initiatives designed to open its sports facilities to the wider community, particularly local schoolchildren. Last autumn, pupils from Greyfriars School spent one day per week participating in sport and attending engaging academic talks. An expanded scheme will offer a similar programme to more East Oxford schools this summer. Also this summer, work will begin on a state-of-the-art renovation of Iffley Road Track following a substantial investment by the University.  


The University of Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey, CBE, FRS, FMedSci, said: “I grew up with a love of sport and remain a keen runner, committed to the transformative benefits of sport. Breaking the four-minute mile barrier has endured as a defining achievement in sporting history. The Bannister Miles will be a fitting way to mark this legacy, achieved at the University 70 years ago, and the Bannister Community Mile through the streets of Oxford will be a fitting way to celebrate together with our community Roger’s landmark achievement.” 


Thurstan Bannister, Sir Roger’s son, said: “After retiring from competitive athletics, my father continually encouraged elite athletes and amateur runners of all ages, partly in his role as the first chairman of the Sports Council (now Sport England). The track and community miles will be exciting to watch, and I am sure many runners will find them so inspiring, they will shatter their PRs and other records.” 


Jared Martin, Club Captain of Oxford University Cross Country Club, said: “OUAC and OUCCC are extremely excited to host Bannister Miles on this special anniversary. From humble beginnings, club members have stewarded this event to becoming the premier mile race in the UK this year. For the city of Oxford and beyond, Bannister Miles offers an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate the benefits of sport.”


Councillor Dr Nathan Ley, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health, Inequalities and Community Safety, said: "We are delighted to be supporting this event to mark the 70th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister's impressive feat. We know how important physical activity is for our health, and that's why we've linked up with our own services, including You Move and Move Together, to get more people on their feet and joining in on 6 May. We hope it will help to inspire more children and young people to follow in Sir Roger's footsteps." 


Further details about the celebrations are available on the Bannister Miles website and social media accounts:   


More information please contact 

Thomas Renshaw. co-director of Bannister Miles and OUCCC Secretary,