Stewart McSweyn capped a memorable 2020 campaign with a lifetime best in the mile in the Tasmanian town of Penguin on Tuesday (29), clocking an Australian all-comers’ record of 3:50.61.
Ireland’s Ron Delany and Hungary’s late Laszlo Tabori, two of the standout middle-distance runners of the 1950s, were friends and rivals. A recent discovery in the USA has reignited memories of the connection between these mile running greats and resulted in two significant additions to the World Athletics Heritage Collection.
It was 75 years ago today, on 17 July 1945, in the Swedish city of Malmö that the first sub-four minute mile was so nearly achieved. Almost nine years before that honour fell to Britain's Roger Bannister the 26 year-old Swede, Gunder Hägg, came within four strides of athletic immortality. His time was 4:01.3, rounded up to 4:01.4 for world record ratification purposes as times for the mile officially then had to be recorded to a fifth of a second.
It’s an accepted truism in middle-distance running: the kick is determined not so much by speed, but strength – the ability to harness the highest percentage of your top pace when it matters most.
Ireland’s 1983 world 5000m champion Eamonn Coghlan has very generously donated two important historic athletics items from his illustrious running career to the World Athletics Heritage Collection.
The world reverberated with the news that Roger Bannister had become the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes on 6 May 1954. Twenty three days later, a landmark was achieved in the women’s mile when fellow Briton Diane Leather became the first to dip under five minutes – unheralded, and, at the time, without fanfare.
Roger Bannister and Diane Leather Charles, who respectively became the first man to run the mile in under four minutes and the first woman to break the five-minute barrier for the distance, were among the honourees at the ‘World Athletics Heritage Mile Night’ in Monaco on Thursday (21).