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The Sheldonian Theatre is holding a commemorative service to celebrate the life of Sir Roger Bannister CH CBE, both the first person to run a mile in under four minutes and a globally renowned neurologist.

Roger bannister 1

Sir Roger first came to Oxford University to study Physiological Sciences in 1946, and he later investigated the physiology of the respiratory system during exercise during a research scholarship in the Physiology Lab in 1951. 

During his time as a student in the Physiology Laboratory, Sir Roger published in the journal of Physiology together with his supervisor D.J. Cunningham and the noted Physiologist C.G. Douglas. In his later career as a distinguished neurologist, Sir Roger collaborated with a number of members of the department including Dr Margaret Matthews.

It was while at Oxford that his athletic abilities were first recognised, and he trained to break the world record time for running a mile while continuing his medical studies full-time at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. He achieved his goal at the Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford on 6 May 1954.

On Saturday March 3, 2018, Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes, passed away aged 88. This afternoon, he is being commemorated in a private service hosted by The Sheldonian Theatre and organised by Pembroke College, where Sir Roger was a master.