Four Minute Mile Fifty Pence
Fifty years ago, Roger Bannister made sporting history by achieving a feat which previously had been considered physically impossible – to run a mile in under four minutes. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bannister’s world breaking record the 50p coin for 2004 bears a new design depicting the runner’s stride, symbolising strength and determination.
The Four Minute Mile
Fifty years ago Roger Bannister made sporting history by running a mile in less than four minutes. However, his achievement was as much a triumph of the human spirit as of sporting success.
Physiologists considered the feat physically impossible, believing that the body couldn’t cope with the strain of running such a distance in so short a time, However, Roger Bannister, himself a medical student, was determined to prove the experts wrong. By studying scientific training methods, in addition to his physical training, he took up the challenge to rewrite the record books.
On 6th May 1954 Roger Bannister realised his ambition. He finished the race in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, stumbling to the ground as he crossed the line. Later he recalled “It was only then that the real pain overtook me. I felt like an exploded flashlight with no will to live; I just went on existing in the most passive physical state without being unconscious”
The fiftieth anniversary of Roger Bannister’s accomplishment is commemorated on the fifty pence for 2004. Designed by sculptor James Butler, the design symbolises the running of a race and concentrates on outstanding achievement and the strength of the human spirit.
Obverse – Fourth Portrait
All 2004 coins carried the fourth portrait obverse design by Ian Rank-Broadley.
A runner superimposed on a stop watch, designed by James Butler.