Roger Bannister: Everest on the Track

Roger Bannister: Everest on the Track


Former 10,000m world record holder Dave Bedford recalls how he used to try running behind a cart driving at 15 miles per hour “so I could understand what it meant” to run a mile in four minutes. Think about it. 15 miles per hour. Nonstop. For 240 excruciating seconds.

No wonder people questioned whether Roger Bannister’s target was even physically possible. Sir Roger himself, looking remarkably sprightly at 87, explains how seeing young men coming back from the Second World War drove him to find something that would “perhaps match” their endeavour. Over the course of the documentary, Bannister becomes more explorer than athlete. And, just like Edmund Hillary’s conquest of Everest the year before, in 1953, Bannister would redefine what humans were capable of.


On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. Since that day, more people have reached the summit of Everest than have matched Bannister's feat. But as this documentary reveals, before the lunchtime-trained runner could make history, he first had to survive the Second World War. His story is told by Bannister himself, as well as his rival John Landy, Sebastian Coe, and Chris Chataway, who was Bannister's friend and pacesetter - among many others.

Cast & Crew

Director Tom Ratcliffe
Director Jeremy Mosher
Producer Tom Ratcliffe
Producer Jeremy Mosher