RUNNERS in the Oxford Half Marathon will follow in Sir Roger Bannister’s footsteps as they pound the track where he broke the four-minute mile barrier.

This year runners will divert over to the Roger Bannister Running Track on Iffley Road as part of the course.

Yesterday at the track where he achieved the inconic feat, Sir Roger said he was delighted to see that 3,000 people had already signed up for the event on October 12.

Sir Roger, who in May revealed he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, said: “I was never one for marathons or half marathons when I was younger, a mile was normally enough for me – and a bit of cross country running – but a half marathon is a perfect distance for people to run.

“You don’t have to put in the same level of training as you do for a half-marathon, and it’s a great way to raise money for charity because lots of people collect money for every mile they run.

“Back when I was running we were lucky to get 100 people signing up for a marathon.

  • Sir Roger Bannister speaks about the half marathon, the success of his new autobiography and the future for British running

"Now these sort of events are incredibly popular and there are about 1,000 charities which benefit. This half marathon alone will raise about £500,000.”

When runners reach a point about six miles into the half marathon, they will approach a sign in Iffley Road marking the beginning of the Bannister Mile.

Each competitor will have an electronic timer. It will start at that point and then stop again one mile later when they cross the finish line where Sir Roger sealed his place in history in 1954.

Race director Andrew Taylor said the Bannister Mile was a tribute to Sir Roger’s historic achievement.

He said: “It’s probably not the best time in the race to try and up your pace so it’s really not about achieving an amazing time for that mile of the race.

Oxford Mail:

Andrew Taylor

"It’s about celebrating Sir Roger’s incredible achievement and reminding ourselves what the human body is capable of achieving.”

More than 3,000 runners have now signed up for the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon, with entries open to runners without charity sponsorship for another five weeks. Organisers are hoping for 6,000 runners.

Sir Roger, who has just written his second autobiography, Twin Tracks, believes a running revolution is under way in Britain.

He said: “We have half a million people running in these sort of events across the country, which is part of the reason we did so well at the London Olympics. The future is bright for British running and I expect Mo Farah will win again in Brazil in 2014.”

The half marathon is this year supporting Oxfam and Helen & Douglas House hospice as its official charities.

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