NGO and charity committed to reducing injury in sport

Honouring Sir Roger Bannister: Celebrating an Inspirational Sporting and Scientific Legacy

  • On Monday 6th May, the Oxford community came together to pay tribute to the ground-breaking achievement of Sir Roger Bannister in breaking the elusive four-minute mile barrier and to celebrate his enduring legacy in both sport and science.

    Sir Roger Bannister was a man driven by an unwavering passion for sport, science, and Oxford, and on the 70th anniversary of his record-breaking run, Podium – working at the intersection of these three passions – was invited to play a small part in the celebrations.

  • “As a medical student, it didn’t seem to me logical that it was not possible…”
    Sir Roger Bannister
  • A true ‘Athlete Scientist’, Sir Roger sought to push the boundaries of human potential, taking advantage of his understanding of physiology and believing that the mind was also a barrier to overcome, refusing to accept the limitations that defined thinking at the time. On that historic day, May 6 1954, he achieved what many deemed physically impossible, forever etching his name in sports history. But it was his dedication to neurology and, in particular, the autonomic nerve system, that he aspired to be remembered for, saying that 4 minutes of running brought him fame, but 40 years of medicine gave him pride and purpose.

    For nearly half a century, Sir Roger dedicated himself to a scientific career, his work paving the way for advancements in the field of neuroscience, leaving an indelible impact on the scientific community. His unwavering commitment to scientific inquiry provided him with a sense of purpose that extended far beyond his sporting success, solidifying his position as a multidimensional icon.

    Oxford University held a special place in Sir Roger's heart. As an alumnus, he cherished the institution's rich heritage and vibrant intellectual community and remained actively engaged with the University throughout his lifetime. His legacy serves as a testament to the transformative power of an Oxford education and the lifelong influence it has on its students.

    Nestled amongst the many activities in Oxford over the weekend, from community mile runs to neuroscience demonstrations, Podium had the unique opportunity to present the pioneering work of the Podium Institute and its celebration and emulation of the ‘Athlete Scientist’ through its Doctoral Training Programme, nurturing the leaders of tomorrow in the field of sports science and medicine.

    Sir Roger Bannister’s sport and science legacy resonates deeply with the mission of Podium and the Podium Institute, and it was a privilege for the team to join the Bannister family and the Oxford community to celebrate such an extraordinary man.  

    Visit the dedicated anniversary website for more information: