Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Bannister celebrates reaching 80

Sir Roger Bannister crosses the finishing line in 1954
The athlete broke the world record more than 50 years ago

Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, is celebrating his 80th birthday.

The Oxford-based athlete turned neurologist said he would be spending the day with his family to celebrate.

"We're all going to be together. I'm going for a walk with my children and grandchildren, followed by a meal together afterwards."

Sir Roger was a student at Oxford University when he broke the record at the Iffley Road Track on 6 May 1954.

College master

Despite winds of up to 25mph (40km/h), the medical student managed to run the course in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

He went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 2001.

Sir Roger Bannister celebrates his 80th birthday
Sir Roger is spending the day celebrating with his family

The father-of-four continued to run to keep fit until he broke his ankle in a car accident in 1975, the same year that he was knighted.

"My son has flown in from New York and my other three children have come to spend the day with me," he said.

"I'm glad to live in Oxfordshire. I might have gone back to London but I'm far happier here in Oxford."



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