Thirty years ago, in July 1985, a world record was broken when Steve Cram ran a mile in 3 minutes, 46.32 seconds. Since 1913 when the International Association of Athletics Federations first recognised the men’s world mile record, it has been held by no fewer than six Britons including Roger Bannister, Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe, but Steve Cram is the last… so far. Read about his memories of setting the record, which held for eight years before being smashed by Noureddine Morceli. The current holder is the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrou.
Many of us will have had New Year’s resolutions to get fit but if, like most of us, you’ve gone back to the sofa, here’s your chance to try again. It’s not too late to enter the Bupa Westminster Mile which takes place on Sunday 24 May. The one-mile running event is the most famous mile in the world, starting on The Mall and finishing outside Buckingham Palace plus free entertainment and activities in Green Park throughout the day. You have plenty of time to train – don’t worry, you won’t be expected to do it in under four minutes! There is also a women-only race as part of This Girl Can, Sport England’s nationwide campaign to get women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability.
Westminster Libraries have plenty of books to help you – for example Running by Owen Barder and Running: the only book you’ll ever need by Art Liberman. Check out too the popular Couch to 5K programme, which aims to get even the least fit of us running 3 miles in only a few weeks. Best of all, running doesn’t have to cost much – as long as you have a comfortable pair of trainers, you don’t need to buy any special kit. Why not just get out there and give it a go?
Have a look too at our collection of online magazines, which includes Health and Fitness and Men’s Fitness. Or for a more philosophical approach, Haruki Murukami’s What I Talk About When I Talk about Running aims to explain his passion for marathons, triathlons and all things athletic while Adharanand Finn wrote a fascinating account of his attempt to find out the secrets of the Kenyan domination of middle and long distance running in Running with the Kenyans (SPOILER: they work really, really hard).
There may not be a British mile-record holder any more, but Paula Radcliffe’s world marathon record (2:17:18) has stood since 2002 when she set it at the Chicago marathon. In fact Paula has set the three fastest times in history – the fourth place goes to Kenyan Mary Keitany who is more than three minutes slower (about a kilometre in marathon running) than her. Paula will be competing in this year’s Virgin London Marathon this weekend, running it for possibly the last time, along with approximately 40,000 other runners including some of the best in the world. It’s always a great sight – check out where you can get the best view to cheer on friends, relatives or just random strangers.
And if it inspires you to enter the Westminster Mile, all the better!