Great British milers

It is 70 years since Roger Bannister ran the first 4-minute mile – 3:39.4 on 6 May 1954 – in Oxford, the city where I live.  The 70th anniversary was celebrated with a festival of running.  Bannister, of course, also set the British mile record.

In the 1980s, Britain had two of the best milers in the world, Seb Coe and Steve Ovett. On 26 August 1981, Ovett set a new GB record of 3:48.40. It lasted two days until Coe ran 3:47.33. In 1985, Steve Cram ran 3:46.32 in Oslo in the Dream Mile race, and that record lasted over 38 years—until last week, to be precise!

Josh Kerr, the winner of the Bowerman Mile, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun

At Pre, Josh Kerr ran 3:45.34.  Appropriately, BBC commentary on the race was by Steve Cram, who described the event nonchalantly: “That is a new British record – once held by Steve Cram.”  He added, “It’s about time!”

In his post-race comments, Kerr said nothing about the record, stressing the importance of the race: “I wanted to win, and I knew it would take something along those lines to go out and win. I wasn’t focused on the time and trying to find comfort in that first 800. I was able to find that and then press through the field and 600 to go, I thought, you know, what, why not, why not take it on and press and scare myself a little”.

Josh Kerr has put down a marker.

Josh Kerr takes the win in the Bowerman Mile, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun