Roger Bannister – the record that broke limiting beliefs

Beliefs are what we hold for true. As individuals, as a society, a nation, or globally. There were once the belief that it is physically impossible to run a mile faster than 4 minutes. This was a commonly held belief until May 6 1954. At that day, Roger Bannister made history. As an athlete, Roger participated in the Olympics of 1952 but didn’t win the medal in the 1,500 meter run that he so desired. This perceived failure strengthened his resolve.

Roger Bannister reaching the finishing line
Roger Bannister reaching the finishing line

Being a junior doctor in his “real” life, Bannister set out to overcome the challenge and ignited the flame for success within.

“A medical student at Oxford, Bannister took a cerebral approach to the four-minute barrier.

He studied running’s physiological demands, measured his own oxygen-consumption levels, and produced papers with titles like “The Carbon Dioxide Stimulus to Breathing in Severe Exercise.”

Bannister discovered that running consistent lap times demanded less oxygen than varying the pace.

So he focussed on his quarter-mile splits.

During lunch breaks, he would run ten of them, stopwatch in hand, punctuated by two-minute breaks. In five months, he brought down the average time he could run these intervals from sixty-three seconds to fifty-nine.” (Source)

He did not just break a record, he broke a belief. The belief that it might be impossible to run that fast. But within a year, 24 other runners followed him by running faster than 4 minutes for a mile. May be his success also ignited other successes as in 1954 and following his feat, no fewer than 16 other world records were broken.

But Roger relied on his mind to succeed.

He said that “he was so relaxed during the run that it seemed as if his mind was detached from his body, so he could run at his speed without strain. In the last round, 300 yards from the finish, he felt a mixed of joy and anguish, “then my mind took over. It raised well ahead of my body and drew me compellingly forward.  I felt the moment of a lifetime had come.”

Watch a video about his success here: 

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